Cashiered Workers in Chicago Occupy Factory Knowing in Apocalypse America, They’ve Got Nothing Left to Lose

Desperate, laid-off laborers took a last stand this week, occupying the factory building at Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago to demand severance and vacation pay they know would be denied without direct action.

The Association Press reported today: About 200 employees of Republic Windows and Doors began staging the sit-in in shifts this week after learning the plant was closing Friday.

According the AP’s report:

Leah Fried, an organizer with the United Electrical Workers, says Republic failed to give 60 days’ notice required by law.

Chicago police spokeswoman Laura Kubiak says police are aware of the situation and are patrolling the area.

Representatives of Republic Windows did not immediately respond Saturday to calls and e-mails seeking comment.


Anyone play the Internationale on guitar?

One pungent remark, per the Sun-Times Crank Comments Board:

“Wow what a shame, guess all those illegals can go home now.

“Bank of Mexico, oops I mean America should be boycotted. I used to bank at the one on Pulaski off Archer. All the signs were in spanish and all the workers were Mexicans.”

And I’m sure that there was nobody on hand to speak ingles at that branch. 100% certain.

I’m issuing a fatwa. If you are annoyed about having to press one for English, the sure-fire, true-blue, all-American response is to PRESS ONE. If a store in your neighborhood has signage in Spanish, but you still want to shop there, either learn a little bit of rudimentary Spanish, ask for service using English, or (esp. if you need some exercise, which is quite likely) walk your fat American ass another half-block to another store that provides service in English.

Suck it up and deal, Americans. Fatwa.

And in the meantime: these people are fighting for some basic, humane treatment as they get kicked out the door. A bit of safety netting just as it is getting cold and hard in Chicago. Maybe a bit of compassion, hmm? Solstice is coming you know — show some non-denominational cheer, dammit.

(Notable: a surprising number of other cranks, on the good side of things, are showing solidarity with the workers, and hammering BofA for their handling of things, with respect to unfair labor practices (as expressed in English-language memoranda, natch).)

@chicago bureau: People come here from Mexico to work. That is, hard work. They are not eligible for welfare, for unemployment, for social security. They just want to work and raise families as best they can. Can anyone tell me what’s wrong with that? And let’s not go down the road about taking jobs that lazy Americans won’t.

Dodgerblue: Not a God damn thing is wrong with that.

I want one talking head to put two people side by side. One scrubs toilets and changes sheets at a Motel 6, working 10 hours a day for $300 a week, with zip in benefits. The other sits on a couch all day, alternating between Xbox and junk food until nighttime, when he goes out, drinks, and harasses scores of women who deserve better.

The first is an illegal immigrant. The other is a WASP frat boy at Haahvid, getting by with a gentleman’s C average. Who would you eject from the Land of the Free?

Last Exit To Springfield (when the Simpsons was biting and intelligent humor)

“Come gather ’round children
It’s high time ye learns
‘Bout some heroic workers and a bank named America
We’ll march ’til we drop, the girls and the fellas
We’ll fight ’til we the death, or else fold like umbrellas
So we’ll march day and night, by the big office tower
They have the plant, but we have the power”

@Dodgerblue: @chicago bureau: I have never understood the idiocy of these people. Hell, my bank here offers four language choices at the ATM, one in an alphabet I don’t even recognize. I think that it’s cool. The workers who come here to, as DB points out, work do more for our economy and society than they ever receive in return. Ironically, Mr Cyn’s best chance at employment now is getting vineyard work. He loves working with the vines, but there are labor shortages now because of the immigration crackdowns. Most “real” ‘Murricans don’t want to do the hard field labor.

@blogenfreude: The Flint sitdown strike against GM was 72 years ago this month. Somewhat ironic given the voluntary give-backs by today’s UAW, eh?

@ManchuCandidate: @nojo: I’m thinking of La Marseillaise or Solidarity Forever right now.

@Dodgerblue: I was just thinking that we need a Woody sing-along.

@Mistress Cynica: We need Woody, instead of rap songs about girls’ butts.

Obama sez:

At a news conference Sunday, President-elect Barack Obama said the company should follow through on its commitments to its workers.

“The workers who are asking for the benefits and payments that they have earned,” Mr. Obama said, “I think they’re absolutely right and understand that what’s happening to them is reflective of what’s happening across this economy.”

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