WBEZ | sit-in http://www.wbez.org/tags/sit 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 Florida county hires official tied to Chicago scandal http://www.wbez.org/cmitchell/2009/10/florida-county-hires-official-tied-to-chicago-scandal/6913 <p>Miami-Dade County has hired a former Chicago window company official near the center of an alleged scheme to loot the business, pilfer manufacturing gear and set up a new operation in Iowa. Former Republic Windows and Doors Chief Operating Officer Barry Dubin will earn $425 an hour to help turn around Jackson Health System, Miami-Dade's struggling system of hospitals and clinics, according to the <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/news/miami-dade/story/1283281.html">Miami Herald</a>. Dubin will serve as the system's chief restructuring officer over the next nine months, the newspaper reports. Cook County prosecutors last month charged Republic CEO Richard Gillman with defrauding company creditors and stealing cash from the firm. The indictment identifies an unnamed co-schemer as the company's chief operating officer. Republic shuttered its Goose Island plant last winter without federally mandated severance payments to the factory's roughly 240 employees. The workers, members of United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), responded with a sit-in at the plant. The sit-in quickly became a national symbol of the nation's economic crisis. It ended <a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=30801">six days later</a> when two Republic creditors -- Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase -- agreed to pay the workers a combined $1.75 million. "Dubin is the last guy I'd want to see in charge of a hospital," says UE organizer Mark Meinster. I tried to reach Dubin on his cell phone Thursday evening. My message asks whether Cook County authorities have been in touch and whether he's the right fit for the Florida job. He hasn't returned the call.</p> Thu, 15 Oct 2009 18:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/cmitchell/2009/10/florida-county-hires-official-tied-to-chicago-scandal/6913