Factory hit by sit-in to get credit extension


The creditor of a Chicago plant where laid-off employees are conducting a sit-in to demand severance pay said Tuesday that it would extend loans to the factory so it could resolve the dispute, but the workers declared their protest unfinished.

A resolution seemed nearer as Bank of America, which yanked the plant’s financing last week, announced that it had offered Republic Windows & Doors “a limited amount of additional loans” to resolve employee claims.

About 200 of the 240 laid-off workers had responded to their three days’ notice of the plant closing by staging a sit-in and vowing to stay until assured that they would get severance and accrued vacation pay.


Lawmakers have criticized Bank of America for cutting off money to the plant after it exhausted its credit line, even though the Charlotte, N.C.-based bank received $25 billion from the government’s financial bailout package.

Word of Bank of America’s loan offer came as the bank, union representatives and Republic held talks in Chicago on the fifth day of the sit-in.

Leah Fried, an organizer for the United Electrical Workers, which represents the Republic workers, said that the participants in the sit-in would have to vote to end the action but that there was no such deal as of Tuesday night.

Fried said most of them made no more than $30,000 a year.