Support UE Occupation Against Republic Windows,
Bank of America!
Picket Bank of America Offices Around the World!
Two hundred fifty workers occupied the plant of Republic Windows in Chicago on Friday, December 5th. The mostly Latin@ and African-American workers, members of United Electrical Workers Local 1110, are protesting their layoffs by the company without the 90 day notice required by Illinois law, the termination of benefits, and the withholding of paychecks owed them. Workers note that the company claimed they had no funds for any of this because Bank of America had cut off their credit. UE officials say the occupation was the workers’ own decision.
This lenders’ strike is affecting virtually every company in the country, and workers are expected to pay the price. Those occupying the Republic plant point out that they are paying it twice, because $25 billion in taxpayers’ money went to Bank of America precisely to allow them to continue providing credit. Workers also explain that Republic is lying about its market supposedly disappearing: while demand for windows for new homes is way down, the market for replacement windows is still strong.
These workers are pointing the way forward for the whole working class. Sit-down strikes have not been seen on a mass scale in the US since the heroic fights that organized basic industry in the 1930s. Such militant action is needed once again as the economy sinks deeper and deeper into recession. After month after month of ever-more massive layoffs, and predictions by all analysts even after last week’s loss of 544,000 jobs of worse to come, only this kind of militant action can protect our jobs.
The sit-down is also setting an example for the rest of the working class by targeting Bank of America. The giant banks that have received hundreds of billions in taxpayers’ money have said openly that they have no intention of using the money for the purposes for which it was supposedly granted, but are instead buying each other up and saving it to invest when their profit rates go up again.
In our Workers’ Action Program, Socialist Action says: “If bankers refuse credit or loans to businesses – which as a result seek to shut down production or cut jobs, wages or benefits – workers should demand the nationalization of these companies.” (www.socialistactio n.org/pollack43. htm). We say the workers at Republic Windows must be kept employed at their contractual wages and benefits, and the government should take back from Bank of America funds sufficient to keep the plant running. And we say the workers should have oversight of how these funds are used at the plant!
Rallies have been held outside the plant to support the workers. And as part of a nationwide week of actions by Jobs with Justice affiliates against the bailouts, Charlotte and Raleigh City workers who are members of UE Local 150, the NC Public Service Workers Union, will protest Monday, December 8th at BofA’s corporate headquarters in Charlotte, NC. If the scheduled Monday negotiations produce no results, Local 1110 is calling for a rally Tuesday outside the Chicago plant. We encourage our readers to organize support rallies wherever they are in front of BofA offices and banks!
Victory to Republic Windows Workers!