In a stinging note of support for the laid off workers that have taken up residency in Chicago’s Republic Windows & Doors factory, the Governor of Illinois has suspended business with Bank of America until it reissues credit to the shuttered company.
Bank of America cut off credit to Republic Windows & Doors company last week, and workers, demanding severance pay, began staging sit-ins, effectively taking control of the building.
The governor’s bold move comes immediately after President-elect Obama, himself a Chicago native, expressed sympathy for and agreement with the worker’s plight and resulting actions.
“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,” said Obama during a Sunday news conference. “What’s happening to them is reflective of what’s happening across this economy.”
Bank of America, Chicago’s second largest bank, has received over $15 billion in bailout funds from the federal government. During a Monday news conference, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich insisted that the money was intended to be used for purposes such as this.
“We are reaching out to the management and ownership of the company to see what they can do to help resolve this issue,” said Bank of America in a prepared statement. “As a creditor of the company, we continue to honor all of our agreements with the company and have provided the maximum amount of funding we can under the terms of our agreement.”
“Families are already struggling to keep afloat,” said Blagojevich, in a statement issued by his office. “I hope that the company will be motivated to exhaust all resources to stay open. We should be putting people to work during this difficult economic time — not sending them to the unemployment line.”
The New York Times was unable to attain comment from the company’s management late Monday.
“We never expected this,” factory worker Melvin Maclin, vice president of the workers union, told the New York Daily News. “We expected to go to jail.”
Some workers have even said they are willing to spend Christmas in the factory, if necessary.
Founded in 1956, Republic Windows & Doors company employed over 700 people at its height.
Source URL: http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Ill._Governor_suspends_business_with_Bank_1208.html
Editor’s Note: ‘Right on!!! THIS is what People’s resistance looks like!! Workers in this factory are members of the Rank-and-File Union. In a story at ueunion.org, we learn that the actions of the Governor and Obama were preceded earlier today by this action: “A contingent of 15 Chicago aldermen said today they will introduce an ordinance to require the city to stop doing any business with the Bank of America. … ‘It is outrageous for Bank of America to cut off credit, a company’s lifeblood, after receiving $15 billion of taxpayers’ money as part of the federal government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP),” said Alderman Joe Moore (49th Ward). Bank of America also has raised $9 billion in taxpayer guaranteed loans and is expected to receive another $10 billion in TARP funds in the next two weeks.And remember in October, Sheriff Thomas Dart of Cook County, IL announced his department was suspending all foreclosure evictions. “‘These mortgage companies only see pieces of paper, not people, and don’t care who’s in the building,’ Dart said. ‘They simply want their money and don’t care who gets hurt along the way. On top of it all, they want taxpayers to fund their investigative work for them. We’re not going to do their jobs for them anymore. We’re just not going to evict innocent tenants. It stops today.’ Dart – believed to be the first sheriff of a major metropolitan area to take such a step – said he wants a safety net to be established either by the judiciary or state Legislature, to protect those most harmed by the mortgage crisis.”