Congratulations Republic Workers

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Not this time, and f%*^ you is what workers at the Republic Windows and Doors plant said tonight to company executives and banks who were ready to rob them of their severance and vacation pay after giving them a 3 day notice that the plant was closing last week. 240 workers decided to take over the plant until the company agreed to pay out what each worker had earned. They set up camp amidst the machines and concrete walls, they brought their kids with and took turns watching the main door in hopes of good news from their union leaders.

I went to visit the plant last night after the CNN, ABC, and NBC crews were all gone to chase after the Blagojevich corruption  telenovela and saw an incredible demonstration of dignity from a group of individuals who were standing up for themselves as a community. I was sadden to see the lack of support from other Latinos in the city as the number of i-phone happy white people tripled that of our own community in support of the workers. As someone who grew up in factories, I know that our solidarity doesn’t come from signing a piece of paper on the wall and taking a picture next to it to post it on facebook to show your friends what a revolutionary you are. Our solidarity comes from looking into the workers eyes and having that moment of an understood thank you for doing this and congratulations for your courage to defy.

Late in the sixth day of demonstration, negotiation ended with an agreement to pay the workers eight weeks salary, all accrued vacation pay and two months paid health care. That works out to about $7,000 for each worker.