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The ITT List

Monday, Dec 8, 2008, 3:08 pm

Republic Windows Sit-Down Strike Links

By Jarrett Dapier

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John Nichols on the Republic Windows sit-down strike that began in Chicago this weekend:

Instead of going home to a dismal Holiday season like hundreds of thousands of other working Americans who have fallen victim to the corporate "reduction-in-force" frenzy of recent weeks -- which has seen suddenly-secure banks pocket federal dollars rather than loosen up credit -- the Republic workers occupied the factory where many of them had worked for decades.

Members of United Electrical Workers Local 1110, which represents 260 Republic workers, are conducting the contemporary equivalent of the 1930s sit-down strikes that led to the rapid expansion of union recognition nationwide and empowered the Roosevelt administration to enact more equitable labor laws. And, just as in the thirties, they are objecting to policies that put banks ahead of workers; stickers worn by the UE sit-down strikers read: "You got bailed out, we got sold out."

"We're going to stay here until we win justice," says Blanca Funes, 55, of Chicago, who was one of the UE members occupying the Republic factory over the weekend for several hours.

Most of Republic workers are Hispanic and they want answers from the Bank of America and the company.

Go here for regular updates on the strike.

Go here to read the Times report on the strike.

Go here to read Progress Illinois' roundup of how this story unfolded.

Alternet: How Fumbling the Bail-Out Led to the Chicago Sit-In.

Jarrett Dapier is a former assistant publisher at In These Times. Previous work for ITT includes interviews with playwright Christopher Shinn and Fugazi guitarist, Ian Mackaye. He currently works with teens at the Evanston Public Library where he runs a recycled drumming program and directs stage adaptations of young adult literature. He lives in Evanston, IL.

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