Workers Occupy Same Factory Taken Over in 2008, Are Victorious Once Again

 In 2008,  about 200 workers from Republic Windows & Doors occupied a Chicago factory for six days, demanding vacation and severance pay. They had been laid off abruptly, and were not given 60 days notice prior to their factory's closure. 

Allison Kilkenny wrote:

The factory closed after Bank of America cut off the company's line of credit, prompting then-Governor Rod Blagojevich to order state agencies to stop doing business with Bank of America until it used some of its federal bailout money to keep the factory open.

The workers were the subject of much media attention, and were eventually awarded a $1.75 million settlement. But they are back again. 

When the California-based company Serious Energy said Thursday that the same factory, now under a different owner, would shut down, about 65 workers entered the building to defend their jobs by refusing to leave them. The Occupy movement supported the workers, bringing reinforcments to set up a solidarity camp late last night. 

 Serious Energy said it was considering consolidating operations in Colorado and Pennsylvania, and union leaders said they wanted time for the company to find a buyer. At around 1 am last night, the workers were victorious, and walked out of the factory with their jobs. United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America's Mark Meinster wrote on Facebook:

A deal has now been struck to try and save the jobs. Serious Energy has agreed to keep the plant operational and people on the job for another 90 days while the union workers and the company work together to find a way to keep the plant open with new ownership because the plant will no longer be part of Serious Energy’s business plan. After 9 hours the occupation has ended with a hopeful workforce. 

The success of the 2008 and most recent occupation, as well as the force of the new Occupy Wall Street movement, raise questions about whether occupying factories and other work places may be a tactic we see more frequently.

Read more about the occupation here. 

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at February 24, 2012, 3:29am

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