by shirah crossposted with permission from unbossed
The one bright spot within the economic gloom that surrounds so many of us was the Republic Window and Door worker sit in. By sitting in they stood up for their rights. By sitting in they got our attention and sent a lesson of what is possible by engaging in concerted acts of mutual aid and support.
They showed a labor movement that has some real movement.
The story may have slipped from our attention, but here is a video that captures the events and the emotion involved.
That was the first step - getting the pay and money owed the workers under law.
But that was just the first step. These people need jobs, and they are working hard to create those jobs - doing what they used to do for Republic.
Here is the most recent news on the continuing struggle.
UE Local 1110 announced today that the leading company in the green window business -- Serious Materials, based in Sunnyvale, California -- is in the final stages of working out an agreement to purchase the assets of Republic Windows and Doors. Members of UE Local 1110 staged a sit-in last month to win severance, health benefits and earned vacation pay, after the plant's previous owner shut down with only three days' notice to workers.
Though some details still need to be finalized, the union is told that the parties are very close to inking a deal. "We are all hopeful about the possibility of Serious reopening our plant. This would be a very happy ending to our struggle," said former Republic worker and Local 1110 Vice President Melvin Maclin.
Serious Materials is a leading manufacturer of energy saving green building products. Their stated mission is to reduce greenhouse gases by one billion tons annually. "These are the green-collar jobs we need for the future of our community," said Armando Robles, former Republic maintenance worker and president of Local 1110. Serious Materials and the union believe there is market in the Midwest for the energy efficient, super-insulating windows and commercial glass that Serious makes.
Serious has said that it hopes, after a ramp-up period, to eventually hire all of the former Republic workforce. For that to happen, however, the bankruptcy court must act quickly. The local fears that if the court delays, the business will evaporate and it will be difficult to re-hire anyone. "We hope that the creditors, trustee and judge will allow Serious to purchase the assets soon, so I and my co-workers can start making windows again," said Robles.
That was January 14. They continue to need support. You can show solidarity by keeping this story alive and even by donating to the cause through the Windows of Opportunity fund.
And many showed their support as the workers toured the country.
Here is the story from the Detroit stop.
And as for you, isn't it time to stand up?