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Chicago factory occupation

Workers say “Fight back!”

Rally on Wednesday, Dec 10 at noon at Bank of America 231 S. LaSalle Avenue in Chicago
by staff |
December 8, 2008
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Chicago, IL - Sunday night, Dec. 7 in Chicago brought more good news to the workers occupying the Republic Windows and Glass factory. The enormous outpouring of support was instantly noticed in the front room outside the worker-guarded doors by the wall to wall notes of solidarity from the hundreds of people who have come by. The workers described how happy they were to get Reverend Jesse Jackson’s support earlier in the day and the cheers that happened in the cafeteria when they heard about President-elect Obama’s statement of support for their cause. They then set their sights on getting Governor Blagojevich to weigh in on the demands for the over $1 million owed these 200 workers.

There was talk that Monday would bring a proposal to the Chicago City Council to take its money out of Bank of America until the Republic workers’ demands are met. The meeting is still set for Monday at 4:00 with Republic representatives, Bank of America and the workers.

The Tuesday rally planned has been expanded to an even larger rally on Wednesday, Dec 10 at noon at Bank of America headquarters 231 S LaSalle Avenue in Chicago.

The workers are noticeably more organized and more confident as they do filmed interviews just outside the worker secured doors. Passersby come in with small bakery boxes of cupcakes at the same time that restaurant owners carry in carloads of prepared food. A cardboard donation box sits on a chair by the door and later SEIU Local 73 called in their support with a check of $2000.

Vice-president of UE Local 1110, Melvin Macklin, outside briefly for a cigarette in the sub-zero weather explained that inside the plant is still an estimated $3 to 5 million of inventory and that they do not believe that the company has been honest with them about its finances. He laughs with the other workers; Ron Bender with 14 years at the plant, Luis Moreno also with 14 years and Erik Ramos with 15 and a half years that they will not let the company change names, declare bankruptcy or any other trick to get out of their responsibilities. When asked how he felt when he got the news earlier this week, he answered “Shafted!” When asked what message he was sending he said, “Fight back!”

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