WBEZ | Republic Window and Doors http://www.wbez.org/tags/republic-window-and-doors Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en A worker’s take on Republic Window and Doors http://www.wbez.org/story/worker%E2%80%99s-take-republic-window-and-doors-90200 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-August/2011-08-05/republic window and doors_flickr_jacob anikulapo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In December, 2008 executives at Republic Window and Doors in Chicago told workers the 43-year-old factory would shut down in a matter of days. Their business had suffered in the economic downturn, and Bank of America would not extend their line of credit.</p><p>The workers, who suddenly found themselves out of a job, asked Bank of America to contribute money to cover payroll, severance and vacation still owed to them.</p><p>To back up their demands, more than 200 factory workers staged a sit-in at the company’s Goose Island plant. &nbsp;And for six days, workers lived inside the factory.&nbsp;</p><p>Eventually, Bank of America and another creditor, JP Morgan Chase, agreed to pay the employees a combined $1.75 million in severance. Republic was later purchased by another company, Serious Materials, which pledged to rehire all of the workers at the facility.</p><p>The sit-in attracted international attention and became one of the most talked-about labor disputes in recent memory. Even President-elect Obama weighed in, saying, “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.”</p><p>Two months after the sit-in ended, workers from the plant and their union representatives gathered at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum to share their stories.</p><p>One of those workers was Rosio Perez, a union steward and mother of five who had been working at the factory for 6 years.</p><p>In the audio above, Perez - speaking through a translator - describes what it was like to live inside the factory while they waited for resolution, and what kept her going.</p><p><em><a href="../../series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range</a> showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified’s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Rosio Perez spoke at an event at the <a href="http://www.uic.edu/jaddams/hull/">Jane Addams Hull-House Museum</a> in April. Click <a href="../../episode-segments/ue-workers-who-occupied-republic-windows-and-doors-factory-speak">here</a> to hear the event in its entirety.</em></p></p> Fri, 05 Aug 2011 20:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/worker%E2%80%99s-take-republic-window-and-doors-90200