Thursday, December 11, 2008

Republic windows workers win entitlements – Establish foundation to fund reopening the plant

Chris Latham

Late Wednesday evening, workers at Republic Windows unanimously voted to accept an agreement that had been negotiated between the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) and representatives of Republic Windows, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase. JPMorgan Chase had entered negotiations on Wednesday morning, offering to make $400, 000 available to help fund the payment of Republic Windows’ obligations to the occupying workers. Chase Capital Corp, a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase, had leant $12 million in early 2007 to help keek Republic Windows continue to operate.

The final settlement, valued at $1.75 million will provide workers with:

  • eight weeks of pay they are owed under the federal WARN Act;
  • two months of continued health coverage, and;
  • pay for all accrued and unused vacation.

BoA will fund $1.35 million with JPMorgan Chase funding the remaining $400, 000. According to UE, while the money will be loaned to Republic Windows, it will go directly into a third party fund whose sole purpose is paying workers what is owed to them.

Following the march, UE Director of Organization Bob Kingsley addressed the workers, describing the outcome of the occupation as “a win for all working men and women who face uncertainty, unfairness and job loss in a troubled economy.”

Kingsley also announced the formation of a new “Window of Opportunity Foundation”, which will be dedicated to reopening the plant. The foundation is to be initiated with seed money provided from UE national union funds and from donations which had been made to the UE Local 1110 solidarity fund. The fund will continue to be open to receive donations from supports of the Republic Windows Workers.


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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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