Updated Call For Action! Please sign this letter.

<Originially posted 2008-12-08 08:20:18 -0500. Bumped by carol to feature letter being circulated in support of workers.>

This letter is being circulated by True Majority action.:

Hundreds of laid-off workers at Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago have occupied their factory and are refusing to leave without receiving the benefits they rightly deserve -- they're staying in the office day and night in their quest for justice.

I call on you to ensure that that the Bailout Program be used to provide workers and companies with lines of credit to save these and other workers' jobs.

Both Chris and I signed. We learned about this from the following email sent by a friend.

Last month, Bank of America accepted $25 billion in taxpayer funds as part of the Wall Street Bailout. Now they're refusing to release lines of credit and causing hundreds to lose their jobs. In Chicago, workers making energy efficient windows and doors at the Republic Windows and Doors plant came to work only to be told their factory was shutting down and they would not be receiving the pay owed to them.1

Hundreds of these laid-off workers have occupied their factory and are refusing to leave without receiving the benefits they rightly deserve -- they're staying in the office day and night in their quest for justice.

Tell Bank of America and Congressional leaders to ensure that the Bailout Program be used to provide workers and companies with lines of credit to save jobs.

      Send a Message to Support the Workers Right Now

This is just the latest instance of banks taking advantage of the taxpayer funded bailout. Instead of using our funds to provide loans and credit lines to companies and workers on Main Street, Bank of America is focused on taking over other banks and padding their executives' bottom line.

These workers have become a symbol for everything that's wrong in our economy and they need our support right now. But, once this immediate crisis passes, we'll need to gear up to pass a Next New Deal for Main Street that will protect millions of other Americans struggling like these workers in Chicago.

Thanks for continuing to be vigilant,

-Ilya

Ilya Sheyman
TrueMajority Online Organizer

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

                                               Obama Supports Workers At Republic Windows and Doors

At his press conference yesterday President-elect Obama expressed his support for the 200 workers who are occupying the factory of the Chicago company Republic Windows and Doors. Obama said he thought the company ought to honor its obligations to the workers.

The 200 workers were given 3 days notice last week after the company's bank, Bank of America, pulled a $5 million credit line. The bank has told the press it has no responsibility for the company. Bank of America has received $25 billion under the Paulson Bernanke bailout which was supposed to keep banks lending to businesses and communities.

The Chicago workers are organized through UE the electrical workers union. UE has organized sympathy pickets outside Bank of America's HQ in Charlotte NC.

AP is covering statements of support for the workers from Chicago politicians, local Chamber of Commerce, which fear that bank credit shut-offs will spread, rapidly increasing unemployment, AFSCME's Local 37 and Jesse Jackson's PUSH which delivered Turkeys to the workers yesterday.

There ought to be ways we can support this effort round here. The workers have signs "We were sold out, they were bailed out".

Please forward as far and wide as possible, contribute ideas, etc. Time to move for Change and President Obama is here and now. History is to be made.

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Factory workers in Chicago stage a sit-in and refuse to leave the factory after being laid off.

"The wise man points to the stars and the fool sees only the finger - and discusses it 24/7 on cable."

After being let go with three days notice, laid off Chicago factory workers refuse to leave and have staged a sit-in protest.

December 8, 2008


Watch CBS Videos Online

"The wise man points to the stars and the fool sees only the finger - and discusses it 24/7 on cable."

"The wise man points to the stars and the fool sees only the finger - and discusses it 24/7 on cable."

Bank of America under fire

In Charlotte this afternoon:

December 8th, 2008
A small group of protesters picketed outside Bank of America headquarters in Charlotte Monday in solidarity with employees of a factory in Chicago.

This is the Statement from BofA this afternoon:

"We agree with the statements of public officials that Republic Windows and Doors should do all it can to honor its obligations to its employees and minimize the impact of failure on those employees.

We are reaching out to the management and ownership of the company to see what they can do to help resolve this issue.

As a creditor of the company, we continue to honor all of our agreements with the company and have provided the maximum amount of funding we can under the terms of our agreement.

By any objective measure, Republic Windows and Doors is unable to operate profitably given the challenges of the current economic climate and its industry. Public statements by management of the company have made this clear.

When a company faces such a dire situation, its lender is not empowered to direct the company’s management how to manage its affairs and what obligations should be paid. Such decisions belong to the management and owners of the company.

Bank of America has worked with the company and shared our concerns about the company's situation and its operations for the past several months. It is unfortunate that the company has been unable to reverse its declining circumstances."

Now somebody tell me where to find the Statement From Us, the taxpayers, Prior to the BofA Bailout Money, I don't remember one, especially about how these companies did business, Do You!!!

"The wise man points to the stars and the fool sees only the finger - and discusses it 24/7 on cable."

New York Times

Workers here say they blame the operators of Republic Windows and Doors, a manufacturing company that was founded in 1965, for giving them just three days’ notice before closing last Friday, with no earlier hints to the employees that orders for vinyl windows and sliding doors had fallen off.

Late Monday, the company released a statement that indicated that it had known since at least mid-October that it intended to close the factory by January. The statement suggested that it had gone back and forth with Bank of America for more than a month, but that the bank had rejected several of its “wind down” plans as well as the company’s request for financing to pay workers’ owed vacation.

The statement also revealed that the family of Richard Gillman, once a minority shareholder who in 2006 and 2007 bought out Republic, last month formed a new window business — Echo Windows LLC. All along, workers here said they feared the owners were shutting down to reopen a cheaper operation somewhere else. A trade publication reported last week that Echo had recently bought a window manufacturing plant in Red Oak, Iowa. No one from Republic could be reached for comment.

“It is looking like reopening is exactly what happened,” said Tara Taffera, the editor and publisher of the publication, Door and Window Manufacturing magazine.

Move he can, but the way he and the banks are handling this whole mess is the problem!

WARN ACT

"The wise man points to the stars and the fool sees only the finger - and discusses it 24/7 on cable."

The Echo story is really amazing but so predictable. Thanks Jim for all the updates.

carol

A very interesting commentary by David M. Kennedy author of Freedom from Fear about the Roosevelt Administration. I have selected a few excerpts. His essential point is that Roosevelt knew that major reforms were needed in the 1920's but he also knew that the time was not ripe. Furthermore he says that had the first hundred days of the new administration effectively turned the US economy around then none of the lasting reforms, the ones that counted, would have been possible.

Forget about the colorful creations of the decidedly frenzied and much ballyhooed Hundred Days — like the Civilian Conservation Corps and the National Industrial Recovery Act. Most of them were attended by much sound and fury, but signified little, and strutted the briefest of hours on history’s stage.

But all the New Deal reforms that endured – the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Housing Administration, the National Labor Relations Board, the Fair Labor Standards Act and, above all, the Social Security Act — had a common cardinal purpose. Roosevelt’s goal was not simply to end the immediate crisis of the Great Depression, but to make life less risky, to temper for generations thereafter what FDR repeatedly called the “hazards and vicissitudes” of life.

The New Deal provided more assurance to bank depositors (FDIC), more reliable information to investors (SEC), more safety to lenders (FHA), more stability to relations between capital and labor (NLRB), more predictable wages to the most vulnerable workers (FLSA), and a safety net for both the unemployed and the elderly (Social Security).

Those innovations re-wove the very fabric of national life. They profoundly shaped the fates of Americans born long after the crisis of the Great Depression had passed. With the exception of the FDIC, none dates from 1933.

carol

December 9th:

Bank Will Extend Credit to Resolve Factory Sit-In

Bank of America said it will extend credit to a Chicago window and door manufacturer whose workers have occupied the factory for five days.

On the second day of formal discussions, the bank said it was willing to
give the Republic Windows and Doors factory "a limited amount of
additional loans" so it can resolves claims of employees who have
staged a sit-in since Friday.

"The wise man points to the stars and the fool sees only the finger - and discusses it 24/7 on cable."