No deal yet for Republic Windows workers

Yesterday's talks between Bank of America and union leaders representing workers at Republic Windows and Doors didn't yield any progress, but officials say they hope a solution will come out of a meeting set for 1 p.m. today.

"What we did establish between all the parties was that we need a solution that puts the workers first," says Carl Rosen, regional president of the United Electrical Workers.

Republic officials announced last week that the Goose Island plant would close, and blamed the shutdown on Bank of America's refusal to provide $5 million in financing. 

Workers say the company is refusing to provide them with 60 days pay and accrued vacation days as required by the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. They've conducted a sit-in at the plant since Friday.

Armando Robles, president of the local 1110 UEW, says the workers voted and agreed to continue staying at Republic as long as it takes.

"We're going to stay in the factory until we get an answer," says Robles. "We're not going to move from here."

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-4) was at the meeting. He says he is optimistic about reaching a deal.

"The tone of the discussion was one of reconciliation, a tone of wanting to find an end to this situation," says Gutierrez. "We hope angels speak to their better souls tonight."

Gutierrez also said that representatives from Republic attended the meeting. He would not comment on the financial situation of the company. The congressman also declined comment on accusations that Republic was shutting down to re-open in Iowa, paying lower wages.

When asked if there was talk of Republic staying open under new owners, Gutierrez says it was brought up at the meeting.

"It's something that's being considered and discussed. We'll find out more tomorrow," he says.

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