New York construction union shows solidarity with sit-in workers

“In many ways,” said Jessie Jackson, their action “is the beginning of a larger movement for mass action to resist economic violence.”

When the Republic Windows and Doors workers were left shafted without warning they took action, according to the AFL-CIO blog yesterday Dec.11th:
...workers at Republic Windows & Doors who made justice happen. After a six-day sit-in at the plant, workers at Republic Windows & Doors in Chicago voted to accept a settlement late last night.

Somewhere along the line a little thing happened, solidarity. Many of us have heard about the demonstrations across the nation, the support from President-Elect Barack Obama and Jessie Jackson standing in solidarity with the workers, but here's something that you may not have heard.

According to a friend of mine who on December 9th, was at the meeting of New York's own Metallic Lathers Union LU 46, in front of a standing room only crowd of members Business Manager Bob Ledwith made a motion that Local 46 show support for the striking UE workers in Chicago by sending them a gift of $1,000 to help defray their costs and hardship.

The members, all of whom are anticipating a rough ride themselves in the near future voted unanimously to approve the motion.

According to the history of the Metallic Lathers in New York:
All through the years Local 46 has been outstanding in its help to the labor movement and has always aided and endeavored to help others secure their own rights.
I hope that showing of solidarity can rub off on other workers across this great nation. I recall the sentence I used to use to practice typing when I was a kid:

Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country. (of course, and women too)

Here's more on the struggle and victory of the Republic workers from the UE site:
http://www.ueunion.org/images/republic_mainbg.jpg
A bid for fairness that inspired the world.

On Friday, December 5, 2008, an new chapter in labor history was written by about 260 Chicago workers at Republic Windows and Doors.

Three days earlier, they learned the plant was closing. Bank of America, although flush with U.S. government bailout cash, had refused to extend Republic's line of credit and had also refused to allow Republic to pay out what they were owed.

United — as a union of co-workers — they stood together and said "No!"

For the next five days they occupied their plant — something rarely seen in the U.S. since the 1930's The worldwide reaction was stunning.

A World of Support

People organized demonstrations in dozens of cities across the country, from New York to San Francisco, from icy Buffalo to sunny Florida. Solidarity messages poured in from around the world. Their common theme was, "We're behind you — and proud of you! Keep up the fight!"

The UE Local 1110 members had no way of knowing how deeply their courageous action would resonate. But it soon became clear that their action articulated the anger and frustration millions of ordinary people in this worsening economic crisis. of

A World of Hope

They inspired people fed up by the excesses of banks, corporations and the powerful who have led us into the worst economic crisis since the 1930s — and then got the government to bail them out with our money.

They gave hope to people who face the prospect of losing jobs, homes, healthcare, retirement, and for many, the hope for their kids to get a good college education.

A Movement to 'Resist Economic Violence'

Rev. Jesse Jackson expressed it well when he said that, like Rosa Parks 50 years ago, the Republic workers stood up for justice by sitting down. “In many ways,” said Jackson, their action “is the beginning of a larger movement for mass action to resist economic violence.”

Now, it's up to all of us to make sure this moment is a real turning point, when we begin to stand together as working people to demand an economy and government policies that put our needs first.

So what is the latest on these workers?

From Change To Wins Blog:
Republic Workers Win! (For Real This Time)

This time it’s official:

After the conclusion of negotiations Wednesday evening, the membership of Local 1110, more than 200 workers, met in the plant cafeteria to hear and consider the tentative settlement that had been worked out by UE negotiators over the past three days.

The settlement was approved by a unanimous vote…

The settlement totals $1.75 million. It will provide the workers with:

  • Eight weeks of pay they are owed under the federal WARN Act,
  • Two months of continued health coverage and,
  • Pay for all accrued and unused vacation.

JPMorgan Chase will provide $400,000 of the settlement, with the balance coming from Bank of America.

Although the money will be provided as a loan to Republic Windows and Doors, it will go directly into a third-party fund whose sole purpose is to pay the workers what is owed them.

As the Local 1110 leaders characterized the settlement, “We fought to make them pay what they owe us, and we won.”

Hooray! Congratulations!

UPDATE (1:35PM): Great discussion of the victory at Daily Kos, kicked off by Friend of CtW Connect TomP.

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