Republic Windows workers pin hopes on second bank meeting

Workers at Republic Windows and Doors are beginning the fourth day of their sit-in at the Goose Island plant, and are hoping a series of meetings today will resolve the labor standoff.

City council members, including Aldermen Ricardo Munoz (D-22), Joe Moore (D-49), and Toni Preckwinkle (D-4), will be at a press conference at noon today at City Hall, 121 N. LaSalle St. The aldermen are expected to join a growing crowd of politicians voicing their support for the workers, according to union organizer, Leah Fried.

Then at 4 p.m., union leaders will meet again with Bank of America and representatives from Republic to discuss a way forward for the workers. U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez (D-4) organized today’s meeting, along with one that took place on Friday afternoon.

Although company representatives did not show to Friday’s meeting, Fried says she has been told someone from Republic will be present at the meeting today.

Fried says workers were encouraged by more shows of support from officials, including President-Elect Barack Obama, who announced he stood with the workers at a press conference yesterday, and U.S. Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-9), who visited the workers yesterday afternoon.

After the 4 p.m. meeting with Bank of America, union negotiators will return to the plant, update workers on the situation, and vote on whether to continue the sit-in.

Republic, a 43-year-old family owned window manufacturer on Goose Island, closed last week, putting about 300 employees out of work. 

Company officials say the business shut down because Bank of America declined to provide continued financing.

In addition to closing, the company announced it did not have the money to pay the 60 days wages required by the federal Workers Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

Workers have remained at the plant ever since, protesting the closure and demanding that the company heed the WARN Act.


KILGORE TROUT, 12-08-2008

This sit-in is amazing! Lets hope that we can all follow their lead.