Monday, December 8, 2008

Barak Obama Sides with UE Members in Chicago

United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, 7 December

President-elect Barak Obama has placed himself on the side of UE members occupying their workplace in Chicago, according to a report published by the Chicago Sun-Times on its website, Sunday.

The Sun-Times quotes Obama as saying, “When it comes to the situation here in Chicago with the workers who are asking for their benefits and payments they have earned, I think they are absolutely right ... what's happening to them is reflective of what’s happening across this economy." (View the full story at Sun-Times website).

Schakowsky: 'Require Banks to Use Taxpayers' Money to Benefit Workers'
Meanwhile, Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky was at the plant Sunday afternoon to show her support for the UE Local 1110 members' demands that the company and its chief creditor, Bank of America, meet their obligations to company's 300 workers.

In a press release issued earlier in the day, Schakowsky indicated she supports the efforts of Congressman Luis Gutierrez to negotiate a suitable agreement.

Schakowsky added that she will work with him and other members of the delegation to get the Treasury Department to require that banks such as Bank of America that have received taxpayer financing use these funds to benefit America's workers.

Jackson: Food, Support and Encouragement
The Rev. Jesse Jackson was also at the plant this morning, delivering food to the workers. He addressed the UE members and their supportes offering his support and encouragement.

Members of UE Local 1110 who work at Republic Windows and Doors have been occupying the plant since Friday evening. All 260 members of the local were laid off Friday in a sudden plant closing, brought on by a decision made by Bank of America to cut off operating credit to the company. The bank reportedly even refused to authorize the release of money Republic needed to pay workers their earned vacation pay, and compensation they are owed under the federal WARN Act because they were not given the legally-required notice that the plant was about to close.

'Safeguarding Assets' — and Perhaps Their Future
"The bank has the money in this situation," said UE International Representative Mark Meinster, "and we are demanding that Bank of American release the money owed to workers who have earned it and are entitled to it"

"We're occupying the plant to guard its assets and keep everything safe," said Meinster. The workers have vowed to stay inside at least until they are paid — and to push for possibility of keeping the plant open.

Bank of America, the country's second largest bank, has received $25 billion in taxpayer money as part of the $700 billion government bailout of the financial industry. The public was told that this bailout was necessary in order to keep credit flowing and prevent the loss of jobs. Yet the bank, by cutting its line of credit to Republic, forced the closing of a plant where workers were, at least up until Friday, producing energy-efficient doors and windows.

Jobs with Justice Campaign
Jobs with Justice, the national worker rights coalition, is asking people to sign an online letter to Bank of America, demanding that they provide the needed credit to keep Republic Windows and Doors open – or at a minimum, that they pay workers the money they are owed. Please go to this link to support this important struggle.

UE Local 1110 members, along with community supporters, picketed and rallied in front of Bank of America’s main Chicago branch on Wednesday, December 3. They chanted, “You got bailed out, we got sold out!” Local 1110 President Armando Robles told the news media, “Just weeks before Christmas we are told our factory will close in three days. Taxpayers gave Bank of America billions, and they turn around and close our company. We will fight for a bailout for workers.”


Mberenis December 8, 2008 at 10:41 AM  

There has been an increase of money availability to everyone known as bailout spillover. Due to recession there is increased funding for all types of grants. Even lenders are bending over backwards to bail you out too. Regardless of statistics, there is people getting tons of cheap money for personal use, investments,start businesses, buy homes, pay off debt, and more. Bailout is for YOU

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Revitalising Labour attempts to reflect on efforts to rebuild the labour movement internationally, emphasising the role that left-wing political currents can play in this process. It welcomes contributions on union struggles, internal renewal processes within the labour movement and the struggle against capitalism and imperialism.

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