The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Zack Pesavento (202) 637-5018

Statement by AFL-CIO President John Sweeney in Support of Striking Chicago Factory Workers at Republic Windows and Doors


The 10 million members of the AFL-CIO stand in solidarity with over
200 members of the United Electrical Workers who, in championing their
own rights, are taking on the rampant corporate abuse of workers across
this country during dire economic times. These workers' peaceful
occupation of the shuttered Republic Windows and Doors plant in Chicago
has put Washington and Wall Street on notice that working people have
had enough. We applaud President-elect Barack Obama's support for the
workers' demands to receive the vacation time and severance pay that
they have earned. Republic and its creditors should meet immediately
with these workers to honor their reasonable demands.

nation cannot afford to bail out banks and investment firms while
leaving workers behind. Only weeks after taking $25 billion in federal
bailout money, Bank of America has refused to extend a line of credit
to Republic, preventing the workers from either keeping their jobs or
receiving severance pay. Bank of America's deplorable behavior is but
one symptom of a financial industry that sets its bottom line above the
heads of working people. Like so many Wall Street titans, Bank of
America took billions in government handouts on the premise that they
would extend credit to businesses so that working people could keep
their jobs. The striking workers at the Republic plant are rightfully
holding them to their promise.

No worker should have to face
the loss of his or her job with three days' notice, especially in the
midst of the holiday season. As millions of our fellow Americans
struggle to make ends meet this winter without a job, Congress cannot
afford to remain complacent any longer. Working families are in urgent
need of a major jobs-producing economic stimulus now. If our leaders
are serious about saving the middle class, then we need an economic
agenda that will support good, green jobs like the ones at Republic and
hold our financial institutions accountable for their actions.

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) works tirelessly to improve the lives of working people. We are the democratic, voluntary federation of 56 national and international labor unions that represent 12.5 million working men and women.