Late last night rumors started circulating that a deal had been reached between the UE, Bank of America, and ownership of Republic Windows and Doors. The latest is that there are still “details” to be ironed out, but that BOA was prepared to extend the necessary line of credit in order to either pay the worker’s their legally owned severance, or perhaps even to keep the shop open. One glaring piece of information that has not leaked out from those talks is where the current ownership of RW&D figures in; all the sites I’ve been watching and the press articles I’ve seen have made mention to negotiations between BOA and the UE. We know that the company had planned to close this shop, take their equipment, and re-open in Iowa as the newly formed “Echo Window and Doors”. The big question is whether negotiations between the three parties are revolving around credit being offered to RW&D which would simply pay-off the worker’s (which was, in fact, their original demand) or if we could be seeing a cancelation- or postponement-ownership’s plans, or whether they’ve baulked and insisted that they cannot run the company- leaving BOA and the UE to negotiate for funding that would bring in new ownership- which could be the worker’s themselves.
One thing that shouldn’t be missed in all this is that, unlike nearly every other labor union in this country, the UE is extremely dedicated to and build from the principle of the worker’s democratic self-management; which means that no deal whatsoever is even possible until it’s voted on by the 200-something worker’s who continue to occupy their factory.
In other, more passing but surely noteworthy news- yesterday as the Governor of Illinois was being charged with bribery (etc) nearly all of the press corps that have been on hand day-in and day-out at the factory left to go cover the story. Worker’s and supporter’s quickly realized that their public shield from a police raid or ownership saboteurs was gone. Wobblies in the factory lending support quickly put the call out through their union and social networks that supporters were needed on the scene, fast, and within minutes almost 40 people had arrived. Good on them for being on the ball to protect these vulnerable worker’s, and for showing such immense solidarity.
Negotiations are scheduled to resume at 1:00 (Chicago time) today- during which people will be rallying in support all across the country. In the meantime, at least four people were arrested yesterday for protesting at a BOA office in San Francisco.
And I leave you, with a tip of the ol’ hat to Community-Organizer.com, with the only boss worth keeping: