Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Window Factory Occupiers Form Worker-Run Cooperative

From United Electrical Workers (UE) May 30, 2012 For Immediate Release Contact: Armando Robles, 708-466-5648 Melvin Maclin, 773-954-8119 Leah Fried, UE Organizer 773-550-3022 A group of workers who occupied the former Republic Windows and Doors factory in 2008 and the Serious Energy factory in 2012 have taken the next step towards saving good jobs in Chicago. On May 30, 2012 the group founded New Era Windows, LLC a worker run cooperative to manufacture quality, affordable windows. Now that the business is incorporated in the State of Illinois, the workers will be able to purchase the machinery from their former employer and raise the investments necessary to start up their cooperative and begin producing windows soon. In 2008, UE members at Republic Windows and Doors occupied their factory for six days to win the wages and benefits they were owed by law. They won all their demands in a $1.75 million settlement from Bank of America and Chase Bank. They also succeeded in keeping their factory open when Serious Materials, now Serious Energy, purchased the company. In 2012, Serious Energy announced they would be closing, having never secured a foothold in the Chicago market. Once again workers occupied the factory, winning a commitment from Serious Energy to sell the business and keep the factory open an additional 90 days- until May 24th.

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