[The workers] occupied the factory and warehouse after Republic closed its doors Friday and company officials failed to show up at negotiations brokered by U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez.Of course they're not.
"We're going to stay here until we win justice," said worker Blanca Funes, 55, of Chicago.
Union leaders say the company failed to give workers the 60 days' notice required by federal law, and that its bank, Bank of America, barred Republic from paying for the 60-day period or for vacations. The leaders also criticized a Wall Street bailout they say is leaving laborers behind.
"We're doing something we haven't done since the 1930s, so we're trying to make it work," declared Leah Fried, an organizer with the United Electrical Workers.
Bank of America, which received $25 billion from the government's financial bailout package, maintains it isn't responsible for Republic's financial obligations.
Obviously, that's not the good news. (Well, the fact that they're exercising their right to organize is good news—that they have reason to in the first place isn't.) The good news is this: President-Elect Obama publicly supports them.
I know, believe me I know, I will have reasons in the future to be disappointed with Obama, that I will have reason to criticize him; hell, I'm still pissed off at him for some of his campaign shenanigans and rhetoric.
But today, I'm really feeling the love.
And after eight long, grim, dismal years of this, feeling the love feels oh-so-good.
[H/T to Shaker Betsy via email.]