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Workers occupy Chicago factory: Goose Island 2.0

By staff |
February 23, 2012
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Supporters rally outside factory during takeover.
Supporters rally outside factory during takeover. (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Armando Robles talks to supporters from inside the factory.
Armando Robles, Serious employee and veteran of the Republic Windows and Doors battle, talks to supporters from inside the factory.

Chicago IL - 50 workers at Serious Materials, the window factory formerly known as Republic Windows and Doors, reported to work the morning of Feb. 23 only to be told that today would be their last day of work. Workers talked throughout the day and at 2:30 p.m. they came off the line and told the boss that they were not leaving the factory. They would not let the factory be stripped of its machines and sold piece by piece while they were out of a job.

Armando Robles, a Serious worker and veteran of the Republic Windows battle who is inside the plant said, " We learned today that they were going to close the plant. We workers decided not to let them. We are going to be here until they give us what we need."This is the same factory with the same union and some of the same workers that inspired the country in 2008 when they occupied the Republic Windows and Doors factory to demand the pay and benefits due to them when that company closed abruptly.

The workers are represented by UE Local 1110. Leah Fried, UE organizer said, “Our only demand is that we be given a chance to save these jobs. What we want is time - time to find a buyer or even to make it possible for the workers to buy and run the factory themselves. We want time to save these jobs.”

Supporters continue to gather outside the plant, located at 1333 N Hickory Avenue in Chicago.

Breaking news (11:50 AM EST):

At around 1:30 am Friday 2/24 workers at the Serious Materials factory marched out of the plant chanting, "Si se pudo!" "Yes we did". After occupying the plant since 2:30pm Thursday the union workers with UE 1110 reached an agreement that will keep the plant keep running for an additional 90 days. In addition the Union will try to help find a buyer for this factory in order to keep manufacturing jobs in Chicago. Other details of the agreement will be released in the future. This clearly shows that by fighting back workers can win.