Workers at Republic Windows occupy again and win again (with video)

CHICAGO – In 2008, members of United Electrical Workers sat in at Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago. They did so in order to stop the company from closing the plant and shipping their jobs off to a non-union plant. The worker’s sit-down not only stopped the company from cheating them out of back wages, but it stopped the company from illegally moving the machinery out of the plant. The action also gave the union time to find a new owner.

This past Thursday, the workers had to do it again. The new owner, Serious Energy, told the union that they were closing the plant right away and were not interested in finding a new buyer. When the president of the local union, Armando Robles, entered the plant at shift change to tell them, they unanimously decided to sit down again.

Alerted by social media over a hundred supporters from labor community and Occupy Chicago gathered in front of the plant in support of the workers.

As a result of the action, at 2:30 am the company gave in to the unions’ demands. They agreed to keep the plant open for 90 days to give the union time to look for a new owner and/or to explore the possibility of creating a worker’s cooperative to own and run the plant.

The fight now continues.

UE Occupy Chicago from Scott Marshall on Vimeo.


Photo: Scott Marshall/PW


Scott Marshall
Scott Marshall

Scott Marshall is a vice chair of the Communist Party and chair of its Labor Commission. Scott grew up in Virginia where he first became active in the civil rights movement in high school, working on voter registration and anti-Klan projects in rural Southern Virginia and Tennessee. He was also active against the war in Vietnam.

Scott has been a life long trade unionist and was active in rank and file reform movements in the Teamsters, Machinists and Steelworkers unions in the 1970s and '80s. He was co-chair of the Save Our Jobs committee of USWA local 1834 at Pullman Standard in Chicago and active in nationwide organizing against plant shutdowns and layoffs. He was a founder of the unemployed organization Jobs or Income Now (Join), in Chicago, and the National Congress of Unemployed Organizations in the 1980s.

Scott has worked for the Communist Party since 1987 when he became the district organizer for the party in Illinois, a post he held until he was elected chair of the National Labor Commission in 1997. Scott remains active in SOAR (Steelworkers Active Organized Retirees). He lives in Chicago.