Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Workers in Chicago occupy factory

[Contribution by Kees Hudig] – The Republic Windows & Doors factory has been occupied by its own workers. On 5 December, the last day the factory would be in operation, they refused to leave the factory. The occupiers have stated that they will continue their occupation until their severance pay and holiday pay has been paid. The owners decided to close down the factory after Bank of America – according to them the most important creditor – had decided not to issue new loans.
Many of the occupiers are Latinos and are organised in the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) Local 1110. The occupation draws a lot of attention because there have been very few factory occupations since the 1930s.
The factory's workers were given three day's notice of the factory closure. The occupiers and their union emphasise that Bank of America is one of the banks that have received billions in bailout money, but are now unwilling to issue new loans.
Meanwhile, occupiers are studying the company's administration, because their are rumours about funds having gone missing. Whether the workers will decide to restart the factory as their colleagues of a bicycle factory in Germany did, is as yet unknown.
Footage of the occupation

Victory - an update from Labornotes: The occupation lasted six days, until a unanimous December 10 vote among the 240 workers accepted a severance package worth about $7,000 per worker. The deal also includes two months of health care, a crucial gain for workers who discovered that their coverage had been unilaterally yanked

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