Chicago Workers Demand Pay Through “Sit-In”by Tim Manni
Not since the civil rights movement gained momentum back in the early 1960s has the media caught wind of defiance expressed through a “sit-in.” Yet, that’s precisely what Chicago plant workers have done to get what they feel they lawfully deserve.
200 of 240 workers, given three days’ notice that the Republic Windows and Doors Plant was closing, staged a sit-in to collect severance and accrued vacation pay. So far the measure has seemed to work. Bank of America, the plant’s creditor who discontinued their line of credit last week, agreed in a letter to offer a limited amount of additional funding to resolve the situation:
Lawmakers have criticized Bank of America for cutting off money to the plant after it exhausted its credit line, even though the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank itself received $25 billion from the government’s financial bailout package.
In its statement Tuesday, Bank of America sided at least in part with the disgruntled workers, expressing concern for what it alleged was “Republic’s failure to pay their employees the employee claims to which they are legally entitled.”
Without severance and vacation pay, many of the workers claimed they were fearful they would default on mortgage payments and accrue other debt. Wheels are in motion to supply the plant with funds to pay the workers, yet the plant will unlikely receive enough cash to reopen its doors.