14 January 2009, Chicago
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.
Labor Beat, “Workers’ Republic — Scenes from a Successful Factory Occupation,” 11 December 2008
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.
For more information, go to <www.ueunion.org/>.