February 17, 2009

Revolts on Goose Island: Updates from the Resistance and Recovery tour


Kari Lydersen reports the end of the story may be near, while the Resistance & Recovery tour finds growing support, in today’s installment of her ongoing Melville House “Live Book” project ….

Chicago, February 17, 2009 — UE Local 1110 has reportedly reached a tentative labor agreement with Serious Materials, the California green building component company which wants to buy the factory and transition it to a major Midwestern supplier of their popular energy efficient windows. The CEO found out about the Republic Windows struggle through media coverage and has vowed that if he is allowed to buy the plant he will try to rehire all workers who want their jobs back and will work with the union. The sale still must be approved by a bankruptcy court and Bank of America, the primary secured creditor.

Meanwhile the workers’ two-week Resistance and Recovery tour which wrapped up yesterday (Feb. 16) has been a smashing success.

In Detroit on Feb. 9, hundreds turned out at the IBEW Hall, and the workers were joined by David Moore, a participant in the 1934 Detroit Hunger March; Olen Ham, who was part of the Flint Buick Foundry sit-down strike in the 1930s; and Geraldine Blankernship, part of the Fisher I Women’s Emergency Brigade at that same time. (Read more here.)

At their stop in Pittsburgh on Feb. 13, the workers drew parallels with the local Aliquippa Hospital (described in a previous blog) which recently closed and went into bankruptcy without workers being given WARN notice or severance pay. (Read more here.)

In Buffalo, one of the industrial cities where the UE started in the 1930s, a standing room only crowd packed a church to meet the Republic Windows workers. The crowd included UAW and Teamsters unionists, housing rights activists and members of the local chapter of Students Against Sweatshops. And the MC was Emanuel Fried, a former organizer of the UE who was forced to testify before the infamous House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) during the anti-Communist witch hunts in the 1930s through 1970s.
(Read more here and here.)