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Obama In Solidarity With Sit-In Workers

From Fox News:

Rev. Jesse Jackson speaks during a news conference in the lobby of Republic Windows & Doors, in Chicago, Sunday, Dec. 7, 2008. Jackson, a civil rights leader, has begun meeting with the hundreds of workers occupying a Chicago factory that they say gave them just three days’ notice before closing.

Obama to Visit With Ousted Window Factory Workers

President-elect Obama is going to show his solidarity with about 200 Chicago workers who lost their jobs and then denied severance and their vacation pay.

Monday, December 08, 2008

CHICAGO — President-elect Barack Obama is weighing in on behalf of workers staging a sit-in on the factory floor of their former Chicago employer to protest abruptly losing their jobs last week.

Obama told a news conference Sunday that Republic Windows and Doors should follow through on its commitments to the 200 workers, who say they won’t leave the plant until they are assured they’ll receive their severance and vacation pay.

“The workers who are asking for the benefits and payments that they have earned, I think they’re absolutely right and understand that what’s happening to them is reflective of what’s happening across this economy,” Obama said.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan also said her office was investigating the company, which has not commented on the sit-in.

To their amazement, the workers have become a national symbol for thousands of employees laid off nationwide as the economy continues to sour.

We never expected this,” said Melvin Maclin, a factory employee and vice president of the local union that represents the workers. “We expected to go to jail.”

The Rev. Jesse Jackson delivered turkeys, pledging the support of his Chicago-based civil rights group, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

“These workers deserve their wages, deserve fair notice, deserve health security,” Jackson said. “This may be the beginning of long struggle of worker resistance finally.”

Leah Fried, an organizer for the United Electrical Workers union that represents the workers, said the company told the union that Bank of America has canceled its financing. The bank had said in a statement that it wasn’t responsible for Republic’s financial obligations to its employees.

One of the factory’s workers, Silvia Mazon, said in Spanish that she needs the money owed to her for an $1,800 monthly house payment. The 40-year-old from Cicero said she has enough money saved to survive for one month.

We’re making history,” she said.

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, called it the start of a movement. “This story has resonated around the world,” she said.

We suspect that this is just a harbinger of how Obama and the Democrats will deal with the big three automakers as well.

Management will be punished — summarily fired — and the “workers” will be paid in perpetuity, even if there is no work.

The union workers must be paid off, no matter what.

After all, a deal is a deal.

By the way, does anyone wonder how many of these employees are illegal aliens? Will the President Select do anything about that?

(Just kidding.)

This article was posted by Steve on Monday, December 8th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

13 Responses to “Obama In Solidarity With Sit-In Workers”

  1. BillK says:

    Continuing the fun, from the AP:

    Chicago Workers’ Sit-In Becomes Rallying Point

    CHICAGO — Chicago workers in the third day of a sit-in on the floor of their former workplace peered through the windows of a door Sunday, amazed by a mix of supporters, politicians and journalists who packed a foyer outside.

    “We never expected this,” said Melvin Maclin, a factory employee and vice president of the local union that represents the workers. “We expected to go to jail.”

    The 200 workers demanding severance and vacation pay have become a national symbol for thousands of employees laid off nationwide as the economy continues to sour. They occupied the plant of their former employer, Republic Windows and Doors, after the company abruptly fired them last week.

    At a news conference Sunday, President-elect Barack Obama said Republic should follow through on its commitments to its workers.

    The workers who are asking for the benefits and payments that they have earned, I think they’re absolutely right and understand that what’s happening to them is reflective of what’s happening across this economy,” Obama said.

    The Rev. Jesse Jackson delivered turkeys to the workers, pledging the support of his Chicago-based civil rights group, Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

    “These workers deserve their wages, deserve fair notice, deserve health security,” Jackson said. “This may be the beginning of long struggle of worker resistance finally.”

    Leah Fried, an organizer for the United Electrical Workers union that represents the workers, said the company told the union that Bank of America has canceled its financing.

    Bank of America received $25 billion as part of a government bailout. Some workers carried signs Sunday that said: “You got bailed out. We got sold out.”

    The bank had said in a statement Saturday that it wasn’t responsible for Republic’s financial obligations to its employees. Republic has not commented on the sit-in.

    One of the factory’s workers, Silvia Mazon, said in Spanish that she needs the money owed to her for an $1,800 monthly house payment. The 40-year-old from Cicero said she has enough money saved to survive for one month.

    We’re making history,” she said.

    Patrick Tyrrell, 22, of Chicago, visited the workers Saturday and returned the next day with home-cooked beans, rice, chicken and soup. Tyrrell said he felt he wanted to help, in part, because his grandfather was an electrical union member.

    This is an impressive historical event,” he said.

    Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat, called it the start of a movement. “This story has resonated around the world,” she said.

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,463186,00.html

    I only ask, with what is the company supposed to pay these people?

    Where, precisely, is the company supposed to magically come up with the cash?

    Perhaps they can just ask the Federal Government for it.

    Hey guys, hang in there another six weeks and Obama will fix everything

  2. RightWinger says:

    “……Jackson said. “This may be the beginning of long struggle of worker resistance finally.”

    Communism will be here soon enough Comrade Jerkson Jackson. No need to rush things.

  3. Liberals Demise says:

    SG….. I was going to mention the samey same about the illegals issue too. Since when does the President Reject (elect) weigh in on things that are NONE of his business? I think the man with the “Hackers Cough” needs to take a smoke break and “BUTT” out!!

  4. pdsand says:

    This will be the first in a long line of such stories during the Obama presidency. I suspect we’ll see him marching in protest marches, chanting, sitting-in, heck he might even try to get arrested a few times if the secret service would let him. Of course it’s just an example of how the democrats will use the office of the President as their loudest bully pulpit, and it’s welcomed news. Whereas our guy gets shouted down as rancorous, bitterly partisan if he does something as obnoxious as express earnest doubts about a bill that he might be asked to sign into law.

  5. Liberals Demise says:

    Now that the Black Messiah is lingering in the halls of the White House……looks like Jesse is regulated to nothing more than a ambulance chaser. Here we have the once “Prince” of injustice handing out business cards to the unemployed and looking for work himself. OH if only O.J. had called………!

  6. madmax says:

    These factory workers are pathetic. Goes for the union ( workers?), too. After 911, my employer lost so much business that we quickly ran out of scheduled work and very few orders were scheduled over the next few months. We cleaned, sorted and prepped everything we could in the plant. Still no work. Our employer asked us to show up for work and we would be paid as if we were building our product. They explained that they did not want to lose the team they had built. We watched movies and surfed the web until they could find ways to loan us out to another company. They could not loan everyone out, so they asked for volenteers. I went on every “loaner” job I could. I could not sit on my butt and get payed as if I were working. Unions are for people who are selfish and/or lazy.

  7. artboyusa says:

    Without the union these people might still have jobs. When I was in high school and college I worked summers at American Aluminum Window in Malden, MA.The Teamsters ran that shop and some of the things that went on you wouldn’t believe. Cured me of any union sympathies forever.

    When people ask me to join a union (the college and univerity lecturer’s union is strong in the UK) I just say that if they can find me a union anywhere where the guy in charge doesn’t live in a house the members paid for, drive a car the members paid for, use a credit card the members pay for and if they can cite one example of a labor dispute in the last 50 years where the workers didn’t end up worse after it was resolved, then I’ll join that union. So far, no takers.

  8. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    artboyusa,
    My only direct experience with a union was when I was stationed in Alaska. My dorm room in the military quarters had a burned out light. I simply unscrewed it and walked down to the supply room and asked the civilian clerk for a replacement. When he asked where I got the bulb and I told him, he told me to go put it back before the union found out what I’d done and filed a grievance against me. I thought he was joking but he was dead serious. So I had to go over an appointment book with him to schedule a time to have my burned out light replaced. Then, on the appointed day and time there was a knock on my door and there stood a guy with a light bulb and clipboard in hand. His only words were, “I’m here to change your light bulb.” He changed it, made me sign the appropriate form and then left. At the time I laughed at the sheer absurdity of it all, but now, years later, it amazes me that a union could have so much power as to control the most mundane aspects of a person’s life.

  9. proreason says:

    “Then, on the appointed day and time there was a knock on my door and there stood a guy with a light bulb and clipboard in hand. His only words were, “I’m here to change your light bulb.”

    Only 1 guy?

  10. Steve says:

    “if they can cite one example of a labor dispute in the last 50 years where the workers didn’t end up worse after it was resolved, then I’ll join that union.”

    This actually seems to be the main point missing from most analysis of this situation.

    Shouldn’t it be the union’s job to get these workers whatever is owed them — if anything? Shouldn’t the union sue the company — or even the B of A?

    Rather than having their workers illegally occupy private property?

  11. Liberals Demise says:

    SG………..Is that a private jet taking off for the Islands, I hear?

  12. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    proreason,
    Yeah it was only one guy. It was a small military installation. Either that or the rest were on a union break.

  13. proreason says:

    Here’s my Union joke.

    The bosses had gathered the union workers in the hall to report on the success of the contract negotiations. The bosses were really pumped. We took em to the cleaners the leaders shouted out. Here’s the deal….every union man and woman has to move 2 paper clips from one side of the desk to the other side, each day. For that, we get $33 an hour, full medical benefits, in-shop pre-paid child care, 6 weeks of vacation, a guaranteed pension, gay days, and time and a half for filling in the paperwork to report union violations. The contract runs for 17 years with cpi + 3% annual salary increases. Whaddayasay guys!!!!!!

    The hall fell deathly silent for what seemed like an eternity.

    Finally, a loud voice broke the silence from the rear of the hall. It was an angry response….

    You can’t mean TWO paper clips EVERY day!!!!


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