After a five-day sit-in at a Chicago window and door factory, workers declared victory as the Bank of America decided to extend credit to Republic Windows and Doors.
The factory was slated to close when the Bank of America refused to continue credit to Republic Windows and Doors, a manufacturer of energy-efficient doors and windows, which would have not only put 300 people out of work and the benefits (including health care) that went along with it, but denied the workers the compensation and earned vacation and severance to which they were entitled. This is despite Bank of America having received millions of dollars in the financial bailout for the exact purpose of being able to give loans and credits to businesses. Since the bailout was highly unregulated, however, what many banks are choosing to do with their money is to simply sit on it, and are refusing to give small businesses credit at the cost, in this case, of hundreds of working-class jobs. The workers, however, who were part of the United Electrical Workers Union, occupied the factory and refused to leave until their demands were met. The victory means that many Latino families will be spared the economic blow of job loss and continue to receive the vital health care benefits that increase their access to reproductive health services.
It is inspiring to see a group of workers, in large part Latinos and immigrants, organizing for their right to a living wage and succeed in this manner. This is reproductive justice!
Contributed by Veronica Bayetti Flores, Policy Analyst