Monday, December 8, 2008

Bad economic times continue

While away on vacation last week, I stayed current on the news. Higher unemployment numbers, car companies pleading for federal funds to continue in business, Bush out on a lame duck, er, on a limb -- nah: lame duck fits him better, Obama in transition to the Presidency, the Mumbai attacks.

This item caught my attention yesterday: workers laid off by an Illinois company, Republic Windows and Doors, are occupying the plant until they get paid; the company can't pay them because its line of credit was cut off by its bank, Bank of America.

Finally workers grumbling, resisting a little, and not just complaining that jobs are disappearing and our standard of living continues to deteriorate while billions of dollars are thrown at financial companies to stave off disaster. And B of A sure made a stupid business decision. Its reputation is going to take a hit, I hope.

The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers, which represents 260 workers at the factory, is protesting the closing, saying workers were not given the 60 days' notice of a mass layoff as required by federal law, and has been told workers will not receive their vacation pay. The union is directing its ire at Bank of America, not Republic.

So the workers have occupied a plant, and are not leaving until they get their monies. Now politicians are jumping on the populist bandwagon.

Illinois will no longer do business with Bank of America until the bank restores credit to the shuttered factory here where workers are continuing their sit-in, Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich announced Monday.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Representative Richard J. Durbin talked to reporters after visiting workers occupying the Republic Windows and Doors factory in Chicago on Monday.

Durbin is actually a Senator.

The workers, who were laid off last Friday, continued their sit-in for the fourth day Monday, as they awaited the meeting, which was to be held downtown. The meeting was the first sign of progress in the peaceful, yet dramatic labor situation that has captured the attention of a nation reeling from the recession and the loss of more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs.

In November the economy lost over half a million jobs. Paulson and Bush look inept. Pundits and media types are clammoring for Obama to take charge, and he isn't even president.

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