Dec 15, 2008
For six days some 200 workers, many Hispanic, sat in at the Republic Windows and Doors factory in Chicago. The company had given them only three days notice it would be closing, and said they would get none of the vacation pay due them or the 60 days of pay required by law.
The company pretended the shutdown was forced by Bank of America, which cut off credit. In reality, Republic was moving production to a plant it had recently bought in Iowa – undoubtedly running up big debts to buy it.
The workers reacted by sitting down and occupying the factory. Some said they were worried they would be arrested when they sat in, but they took the risk anyway. United Electrical Workers, their union, printed up signs saying, “Bank of America: You got bailed out. We got sold out.”
After six days, Bank of America found the money to meet the workers’ demands, which amounted to about $7,000 each. It wasn’t everything the workers deserved – far from it. But they got much more than what Republic would have given them if they hadn’t fought – which was nothing.
Workers give their lives day after day in these factories. No one should let companies toss them aside like garbage.