Monday, December 8, 2008

The fallout continues

Good luck to the laid-off workers occupying the Republic Windows and Doors factory in Chicago:
In an interview following the rally, Armando Robles, President of UE Local 1110, described the anger felt by the workers when they were told, with so little notice, that not only were they losing their jobs but that their insurance policies had been canceled and workers were not to receive vacation earned or severance pay.
Robles said that according to Illinois law, the company is required to give 75 days notice of a shutdown, or pay workers for 75 days. The company blames the Bank of America for not providing a line of credit to the company. But, according to Robles, management has been lying to the workers and the union about the status of company.
Another worker, Silvia Magna, described how shocked and angry the workers were when they found out they were losing their jobs. She said they all work hard, and yet she only brings home $328 a week.
Many workers have been cut and lost fingers on the job. Magna said the workers are determined to stay in the plant until “we get what we worked for.” They blame both the owners and the bankers because the owners have not been honest with the workers.
Magna says they are fighting not only for themselves and their families, “but to be an inspiration to other workers to fight like we are. We are making history because people have not seen the workers fight from inside the plants.” She says the workers will do whatever is necessary and requested solidarity from people from the outside.
Over at the NYT, a few more clips:
Some of the plant’s 250 workers stayed all night, all weekend, in what they were calling an occupation of the factory. Their sharpest criticisms were aimed at their former bosses, who they said gave them only three days’ notice of the closing, and the company’s creditors. But their anger stretched broadly to the government’s costly corporate bailout plans, which, they argued, had forgotten about regular workers.
“They want the poor person to stay down,” said Silvia Mazon, 47, a mother of two who worked as an assembler here for 13 years and said she had never before been the sort to march in protests or make a fuss. “We’re here, and we’re not going anywhere until we get what’s fair and what’s ours. They thought they would get rid of us easily, but if we have to be here for Christmas, it doesn’t matter.”


“Here the banks like Bank of America get a bailout, but workers cannot be paid?” said Leah Fried, an organizer with the union workers. “The taxpayers would like to see that bailout go toward saving jobs, not saving C.E.O.’s.”
What we're witnessing is the fallout from the massive redistribution of wealth from those who have so little to those who already have so much. That last quote that I shared of Leah Fried captures just what I was talking about this past fall, when it finally became obvious that the wheels had fallen off, and the CEO class was wanting a "bailout." This blogger will gladly offer whatever solidarity is needed to these fellow workers in their struggle. Hang in there.

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