Workers At Window Factory Win Reprieve From Layoffs

CHICAGO (CBS) — Workers are going to have to start working like managers, now that they have won a 90-day reprieve for their jobs at a window plant on Goose Island.

As WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports, word arrived Thursday morning that Serious Energy would immediately halt production of windows at its plant, at 1333 N. Hickory Ave. on Goose Island.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports

“Our immediate thought was we need to save these jobs,” said United Electrical Workers Union organizer Leah Friedman. “We engaged in negotiations, and they weren’t going anywhere.”

Friedman said the 50 union workers decided that since a sit-in worked at the very same plant in 2008, it might work again this time.

“What was interesting this time around is we had a huge camp of Occupy Chicago members outside of the factory,” Friedman said.

Friedman says Serious Energy agreed to continue production for 90 days, and work with the union to find a different buyer for the energy efficient window company.

Back in December 2008, when the factory was operated by Republic Windows and Doors, it made national headlines when the workers occupied the factory for six days, demanding a chance to save their jobs on an announcement that the factory was closing. 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 in early 2009. But on Thursday, the company said it was closing the plant and consolidating operations to two facilities in Pennsylvania and Colorado.

  • M

    Capitalism is dead in America. Socialist Unions are tell companies that they cannot Chicago when the company is loosing money or it makes sense to do so, because the Unionists will lose their job…that just sickens me.

    • Afro

      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!!

      February 23, 2012 at 8:47 pm | Reply | Report comment


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

      February 24, 2012 at 7:50 am | Reply | Report comment


      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.

      February 23, 2012 at 11:16 pm | Reply | Report comment


      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.

      February 24, 2012 at 1:40 am | Reply | Report comment

      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.

      February 24, 2012 at 8:38 am | Reply | Report comment

      Afro Jr.

      Amen, Tea Party Hero.

      February 24, 2012 at 1:08 am | Reply | Report comment


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

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

      February 24, 2012 at 7:41 am | Reply | Report comment


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

      February 24, 2012 at 7:48 am | Reply | Report comment

      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!!!!

      February 24, 2012 at 8:55 am | Reply | Report comment

  • M

    Sorry…seems I missed a word… “they cannot leave Chicago”

  • Want the Truth?

    I guarantee you some “white knight” will come in with great fanfare and press and purchase the company, only to realize a year later that there is still no way they can turn a profit. These workers will be back in the same spot soon.

  • THEE Yard Ape

    W T F happened to ALL the previous comments on this story??!!!! What, some union sympathizing @ ss hole reported them?? Fuk U cbs and whoever deleted the FACTUAL statements previously made!!!!! FREEDOM OF SPECH you c@ ck suckers!!!!

    • M

      CBS does that all the time. Add a new link for a story instead of updating the original story. CNN and Yahoo at least update their ‘news’ stories.

  • THEE Yard Ape

    Minor spelling correction – W T F happened to ALL the previous comments on this story??!!!! What, some union sympathizing @ ss hole reported them?? Fuk U cbs and whoever deleted the FACTUAL statements previously made!!!!! FREEDOM OF SPEECH you c@ ck suckers!!!!

  • Window factory sit-in ends with 90-day reprieve for workers – Chicago Tribune | Raw Tab

    […] of United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers of America Local 1110, said his vision is for …Workers At Window Factory Win Reprieve From LayoffsCBS LocalWorkers at Chicago window factory end sit-inRockford Register StarChicago factory where […]

  • southside

    Hint to the workers at this plant: Start looking for a new job NOW. Your company is not fiancially viable. Your sit in goofiness won’t save you next time.

  • Gabe

    cbs you suck for deleting my comments

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