Republic Windows’ Fired Workers Plan Protest at Bank of America
Republic Windows' Fired Workers Plan Protest at Bank of America
By Brian Louis and Kathleen M. Howley
Dec. 9 (Bloomberg) — A fire roared in a trash bin outside the Republic Windows & Doors headquarters on Chicago's north side last night, warming supporters who brought coffee, food and sleeping bags to 250 fired workers occupying the factory.
Nearby, a protester held a placard: "Bank of America. You got bailed out. We got sold out."
Workers blame Bank of America Corp., the biggest U.S. retail bank, for the factory's Dec. 5 closure after it canceled a line of credit to the manufacturer, whose sales have been gutted by the housing slump. The Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank, which is buying Merrill Lynch & Co., has received $25 billion from the government in the last month.
The window maker's union is planning a protest at noon tomorrow at the Bank of America building in downtown Chicago as the plant becomes the center of the debate over how more than $700 billion in federal funds are used to help the world's largest economy weather the worst economic decline since the 1930s. Government bailout funds should be used to help businesses such as Republic Windows rather than Wall Street firms and global banks, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, which represents the Republic workers, said on its Web site.
"We will continue to occupy the factory until a resolution is reached," said Leah Fried, a union representative.