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Talks Over Factory Sit-In ‘Productive’

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It’s the fifth day of a factory sit-in by employees laid off from a window company on Chicago’s Near-North Side. But the workers say they may be nearing a resolution with the company and its bank.

About 200 former employees of Republic Windows and Doors have taken turns occupying the factory since Friday. The company abruptly shut down last week. Federal law requires 60 days’ notice before a mass layoff.

The company has blamed Bank of America, which has cut off credit. The bank says only the window company is responsible for its employees.

Labor activists and some politicians say the conflict proves that the nation’s financial bailout isn’t helping U.S. manufacturers. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he’s suspending all state business with the bank.

Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Chicago) Monday night held a three-hour meeting with representatives of the company, the bank and the workers’ union, the United Electrical Workers. Gutiérrez and the union say the negotiations were productive. The talks are set to continue Tuesday afternoon.

I’m Chip Mitchell, Chicago Public Radio.

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