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Chicago Workers Occupy, Gain 90-Day “Window”

Republic Windows and Doors Workers photo image

In 2008, Republic Windows and Doors workers occupied the Chicago plant for six days before gaining concessions.

The worker occupation of Serious Energy on 2/23 led to an agreement with corporate bosses to postpone closing the Chicago plant for 90 days while the union, UE, considers buying the plant. The plant—formerly Republic Windows and Doors, which was occupied in 2008—was to shut down and “consolidate manufacturing” in Boulder, Colorado (see map here) and Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, eliminating “about 46 union and non-union positions” (Associated Press). The UE press release follows.

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Workers Strike a Deal to Try and Save Jobs

For Immediate Release
Contact: Leah Fried, UE Organizer 773-550-3022, leahfried@gmail.com

The worker occupation of Serious Energy has ended and an agreement has been reached to keep the plant in operation for 90 days while union members and the company work together to find new ownership to keep the plant open. After 12 hours the occupation has ended with a hopeful workforce.

After being told by local management this morning that the Serious Energy window factory would close effective immediately, workers at the former Republic Windows and Doors plant had one demand: time to save these jobs by finding a buyer for the business. Local management refused and in response, workers voted to occupy for the second time with their union the United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America, UE. In 2008, UE members at the same factory, then owned by Republic Windows and Doors, occupied and won $1.75 million in wages and benefits owed from Bank of America.

After the occupation began, Serious Energy’s corporate leaders stepped in and immediately began talks to resolve the situation. Workers and the company were able to strike a deal in the early morning hours in Chicago.

“We started the morning with the plant closing and ended the day with work and a chance to save our jobs.” said Armando Robles, President of UE Local 1110, “We are committed to finding a new buyer for the plant or if we can, buy the place ourselves and run it. Either way, we are hopeful.”

–Originally posted 2/24/12, here.

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