At 9:30 PM Wednesday night, the workers at Republic Windows and Doors voted to accept an offer from Bank of America and ended their sit-in.
Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase will loan Republic’s owners $1.75 million which can only be used to pay the workers. They’ll receive 8 weeks severance pay plus back pay and earned vacation time – and two months paid health insurance.
The workers left the factory they had occupied since Friday chanting "Yes We Did!" Carl Rosen of the United Electrical Workers said:
"This is about more than just money. It’s about what can be achieved when workers organize and stand up for justice."
Of course the workers are still out of a job – while the owner of Republic managed to buy a new company in Iowa while running Republic into debt. But there’s some hope the workers could be back – the union announced the launch of a fund "to try and re-open the plant:"
It will be initiated with seed money from the UE national union and the thousands of dollars of donations to the UE Local 1110 Solidarity Fund that have come in from across the country and around the world in just the past five days.
Melvin Maclin of Local 1110 announced the name of the foundation, which was chosen by the workers themselves: the Window of Opportunity Fund. Maclin said that the fund will be open to receive donations from all friends of the Republic workers and supporters of their struggle.
As one Republic worker, Heriberto Barriga said of the sit-in:
"It was worth it. It was not only for us, it was for everybody nationwide, because they can do the same thing."
Graphic from the IWW.