Workers Occupy Factory! Need Your Immediate Support!
Yesterday, Friday December 5th, the workers of Republic
Windows and Doors occupied their factory, which was due
to close at 10:00 AM. The workers are fighting for pay
for their lost vacation days and for the 75 days notice
that they are guaranteed under Illinois law. This is
the first time in many years workers have taken the
bold, militant strategy of occupying their place of
work to demand justice. The plan to occupy the plant
until the hear the results of the next round of
negotiations Monday afternoon. They need to know they
have our support!
A prayer vigil has been planned for 12:00 Noon,
Saturday December 6th. Please attend. But we should
organize a constant presence of community members
picketing outside the factory! Bring food and coffee
for the workers. It is our presence and the press that
is the workers best defense against the police raiding
These workers are fighting for all of us!!! As the
economic crisis deepens we need to launch a working
class fight back. These workers are the starting point
and deserve our full support.
Republic Windows & Doors 1333 N. Hickory
On Goose Island, near the intersection of Division &
(Message written by Jerry Mead-Lucero,
FROM UNITED ELECTRICAL, RADIO AND MACHINE WORKERS OF AMERICA:
UE Members in Chicago Occupy Plant in Struggle for
December 6, 2008
National television news networks CNN News and Fox are
running reports on the following story involving the UE
members in Chicago...
Members of UE Local 1110 who work at Republic Windows
and Doors in Chicago have been forced to resort to
drastic action to try to force their employer to meet
its obligations to the workforce.
Several national news media outlets have covered this
fast-developing story; several links are provided
below. More news to follow as it becomes available...
Several Chicago television stations have covered the
story also, and you will find these stories by visiting
the web pages and local news sections of WGN and CBS2.
Idled workers occupy factory in Chicago
By RUPA SHENOY | Associated Press Writer
December 6, 2008
Workers who got three days' notice their factory was
shutting its doors voted to occupy the building and say
they won't go home without assurances they'll get
severance and vacation pay they say they are owed.
In the second day of a sit-in on the factory floor
Saturday, about 200 union workers occupied the building
in shifts while union leaders outside criticized a Wall
Street bailout they say is leaving laborers behind.
About 50 workers sat on pallets and chairs inside the
Republic Windows and Doors plant. Leah Fried, an
organizer with the United Electrical Workers, said the
Chicago-based vinyl window manufacturer failed to give
60 days' notice required by law before shutting down.
During the takeover, workers have been shoveling snow
and cleaning the building, Fried said.
"We're doing something we haven't since the 1930s, so
we're trying to make it work," Fried said.
Organizers of the action said the company can't pay
employees because its creditor, Charlotte, N.C.-based
Bank of America, won't let them. Crain's Chicago
Business reported that Republic Windows' monthly sales
had fallen to $2.9 million from $4 million during the
past month. In a memo to the union, obtained by the
business journal, Republic CEO Rich Gillman said the
company had "no choice but to shut our doors."
Bank of America received $25 billion from the
government's financial bailout package.
"Across cultures, religions, union and nonunion, we all
say this bailout was a shame," said Richard Berg,
president of Teamsters Local 743. "If this bailout
should go to anything, it should go to the workers of
Outside the plant, protesters wore stickers and carried
signs that said, "You got bailed out, we got sold out."
Larry Spivack, regional director for American
Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees,
Council 31, said the peaceful action will add to
Chicago's rich history in the labor movement, which
includes the 1886 Haymarket affair, when Chicago
laborers and anarchists gathering in a square on the
city's west side drew national attention when an
unidentified person threw a bomb at police.
"The history of workers is built on issues like this
here today," Spivack said.
Representatives of Republic Windows did not immediately
respond Saturday to calls and e-mails seeking comment.
Police spokeswoman Laura Kubiak said authorities were
aware of the situation and officers were patrolling the
Workers were angered when company officials didn't show
up for a meeting Friday that had been arranged by U.S.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, a Chicago Democrat, Fried said.
Union officials said another meeting with the company
is scheduled for Monday afternoon.
"We're going to stay here until we win justice," said
Blanca Funes, 55, of Chicago, after occupying the
building for several hours. Speaking in Spanish, Funes
said she fears losing her home without the wages she
feels she's owed. A 13-year employee of Republic, she
estimated her family can make do for three months
without her paycheck. Most of the factory's workers are