Chicago Window Factory Where Workers Had Sit-In To Close

UPDATED 02/24/12 6:21 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS)Workers are engaged in another fight at the Goose Island window factory that drew national attention for a labor sit-in more than three years ago.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports, around 65 workers staged a sit-in Thursday inside Serious Materials, which took over the Republic Windows and Doors factory in early 2009.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Waelti reports

The parent company, Serious Energy, informed workers earlier in the day it was shutting down, effective immediately. That news followed a round of layoffs two months ago.

Workers say they will stay and fight for their jobs, just like they did back in late 2008.

On that occasion, when workers occupied the factory for six days, demanding a chance to save their jobs. They won nearly $2 million in wages and benefits owed to them from Bank of America.

The workers won the support of then-President-elect Barack Obama. Their struggle also inspired a book, Revolt on Goose Island, by journalist Kari Lydersen.

Serious Energy re-opened the factory and hired them back. Then the upsetting news came Thursday about the factory’s closure.

The company is planning on consolidating operations to two facilities in Pennsylvania and Colorado. But the Chicago workers said they have not been offered jobs at either plant.

“Workers demanded a chance to save these jobs and find a buyer or purchase the factory themselves and start a worker-run enterprise. Serious Energy refused. That same day workers voted to once again occupy their factory to win justice and jobs,” the United Electrical Workers, which represents employees, said in a news release.

Raul Ramirez has worked at the factory since 1993.

“The situation is tough, you know? We’ve been here for so long. We’ve known each other for a long time. We love as a family here, and we’re going to fight together,” he said.

  • Tea Party Hero

    Who is on the side of business?

    Stupid liberals want to take everything away from rich, wealthy job creators who deserve what they have, and give it to complaining, whining, lazy black people and ILLEGALS.

    Let’s take back our country!!

    • Mark

      they’re not always lazy, but they are scammers. throw them out!

  • Tommy

    Are they talking about the IBEW? The IBEW is a joke. Yes, I am very sure that there are people who do excellent work at the IBEW at some major commercial sites but the guys that I worked with in residential and commercial were horrible. I worked with the union for quite a while on permit and saw so much baloney it was unreal. No “scabs” that I ever worked for placed outlets and other devices in a box lose so that they would move and trip the circuit breaker on purpose but the IBEW did. When I worked with 134 guys on commercial sites, such as the FedEx building in Des Plains in the 90’s they were always telling me to slow down or go home, and they refused to hustle for any reason at all, believing that the best pace to have was that just above being laid off. 152 guy that I worked with from the IBEW called it his insurance that there would be work in the Winter!!! No “scabs” that I ever worked with ever turned on 220 on a guy wiring a fence post as a joke against another human being. No “scabs” that I ever worked for stripped the plastic off of a wire and then placed that wire straight in to the back of an outlet the way that I saw IBEW guys do. I saw IBEW guys that could not keep up and did not place wires around posts on new residential wiring. When the homebuilder wanted to speed up work on the site, they hired as many non-union permit workers as possible because they could get twice the work out of them for the same buck at a higher level of quality. I hate to say it but what I expected, did not turn out to be true. Union IBEW workers were NOT professionals at all, and they were not quite what I expected for grown men. If these guys are hoping that the IBEW has their back…then that could be a major mistake.

    • ENOUGH TAXES!!!!

      @Tommy – well said sir!!!! Take it from me, another proud-ex-union-trades-man, this is EXACTLY what goes on!!!!!! In contrast – my union would always stress QUANTITY over quality!!!! Setting unrealistic and impossible to obtain quotas on their members. Cut all the corners you can, regardless of delivering an inferior finished product!!!! I actually had some “new blood” BA tell me “well it’s a trade off”, when I questioned him about it!!! 99% of the builders that I have dealt with would prefer using non-union labor, because they get better workers (remember trade courtesy??) and a better finsihed product.

    • Jerry

      Tommy, two more Unions, UPIU and PACE you described them to the Tee, infact I watched PACE run a company flat in to bankruptcy because of its not my job not my area attitude, I saw hyster drivers sit in isles because an empty, cardboard box was in the isle and this was right after a brand new contract was ratified. I was 30+ ft up in a JLG working in a panel on a 480 crane when all of a sudden my basket went ballistic, when I looked a hyster driver was trying to move me with his forks, when I called safety the “BROTHERS” Didn’t think it was right for a fellow brother to file a report against another, after all he only needed just 2 more inches to get around my lift after moving my safety cones so they wouldn’t get run over.

  • Afro Jr.

    Amen, Tea Party Hero.

  • Lauren

    Unions kill yet another company! No wonder there are no jobs in Chicago.

    Keep voting for Democrats – it’s easier than working.

  • Jack

    These people had the support of Blagojevich and obama. Say no more. they are as wrong as them.

  • Another day in corrupt Chicago

    I totally agree with all of the above. The Unions do not care about putting out they just care about taking in!! Get rid of the Unions!!!!

  • Workers At Window Factory Win Reprieve From Layoffs « CBS Chicago

    […] As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, word arrived Thursday morning that Serious Energy would immediately halt production of windows at it… […]

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