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A rush hour protest at the Powell and Market Bank of America tonight drew attention to the struggle of the workers at Republic Windows and Doors factory in Chicago who are occupying their factory to protest against back wages owed them. The protest was called by the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition and co-sponsored by the San Francisco Labor Council (AFL-CIO) and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement – SF. Four people were arrested for protesting inside the bank.
Clarence Thomas, ILWU Local 10
|Protesting in front of the B of A|
Protestors Being Taken to Police Van
4 People Arrested for Protesting inside the Bank
|Photography by Bill Hackwell|
Bail Out Workers, Not Banks! Support Chicago Workers!
Over 200 workers have occupied their workplace factory at Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago, after the company shut down the plant, claiming lack of funds to pay the workers their back pay, vacation, and other benefits, or to give 60 days’ notice as required by federal law.
The plant closing was precipitated by Bank of America’s refusal to extend any more credit to the company, despite the fact that B of A has received $25 billion in bailout funds. These billions were supposed to help relieve credit shortages and help sustain jobs. Instead, the banks are using taxpayer dollars to merge into larger banks. Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase are the two banks that invest in Republic Windows and Doors. The workers are owed an average of 75 days’ pay and vacation. Companies are bound by federal law to either give 60 days’ notice with pay, before a plant closing or layoff of 50 or more workers.
It is reported that Republic Windows and Doors is planning to move its plant to Iowa because of cheaper labor costs, and to get out of union obligations with the United Electrical Workers Union. Workers across the country are paying a heavy price for the banks and corporations’ theft. It’s time for the bankers and companies to pay, NOT THE WORKERS!
Bill Hackwell is a widely published and exhibited photographer who lives and works in the San Francisco bay area. The bulk of his work has focused on social change in working class and oppressed communities. He has worked as the photographer for a number of non-profit and humanitarian aid groups working in many parts of the world. This article was first published on Indybay.org on 9 December 2008.