December 10, 2008 – 10:46 am


If you have ever wondered what specific incident might bring about martial law, here it is front and center, brought to you by Bank of America. The first flash point of the credit crisis occurred when Bank of America refused to extend a line of credit to Republic Windows and Doors. The factory failed and sent disgruntled workers home without pay. But instead of going home quietly and empty-handed, workers staged a Great Depression-style sit-in.

Workers who got three days’ notice that their factory was shutting its doors have occupied the building and say they won’t go home without assurances they’ll get severance and vacation pay.

“We’re doing something we haven’t done since the 1930s, so we’re trying to make it work,” she said, referring to a tactic most famously used in 1936-37 by General Motors factory workers in Flint, Mich., to help unionize the U.S. auto industry.

Fried said the company can’t pay its 300 employees because its creditor, Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America, won’t let them. Crain’s Chicago Business reported that Republic Windows’ monthly sales had fallen to $2.9 million from $4 million during the past month. In a memo to the union, obtained by the business journal, Republic CEO Rich Gillman said the company had “no choice but to shut our doors.”

The spontaneous revolt also reveals the true purpose and nature of the unscrupulous bailout bill, whose stated purpose was to increase lending. Witness:

Bank of America received $25 billion from the government’s financial bailout package. The company said in a statement Saturday that it isn’t responsible for Republic’s financial obligations to its employees.

“Across cultures, religions, union and nonunion, we all say this bailout was a shame,” said Richard Berg, president of Teamsters Local 743. “If this bailout should go to anything, it should go to the workers of this country.”

Outside the plant, protesters wore stickers and carried signs that said, “You got bailed out, we got sold out.”

And that says it best: billionaires bailed out, workers sold out. All under the watchful eye of Chicago’s finest.

According to Associated Press, Chicago police are aware of the sit-in and are monitoring the situation. Republic Windows and Doors, a Chicago presence for 48 years, has pledged not to eject the workers from the building and to attempt to resolve their concerns at a meeting Monday between the union, the company and the bank.

So far, with all the world watching and empathizing with the workers, all the police have done is watch. It’s still early in the game, and there are bound to be many more plant closings with many more angry, uncooperative, unpaid employees. Sooner or later management will attempt to eject them, and if management can’t, US Northern Command (USNORTHCOM) just may do it for them.

What better use of taxpayer dollars (next to billionaire well fare) than to turn taxpayer money into a weapon against tax payers. Sooner or later, history shows that there will be violence against the workers.

For those who don’t know their labor history, in May of 1937, workers trying to unionize at Republic Steel marched on the plant. Bricks were thrown (marchers), tear gas canisters were lobbed (police), and shots were fired (police).

By the time the melee ended, 10 of the marchers had been shot to death.

Fortunately that did not happen here, and despite the fact that Bank of America has received $15B from the the bailout and Merrill Lynch another $10B (which was originally intended to cover John Thain’s bonus), it took nearly a week of bad publicity before someone at Bank of America got wise and did the smart thing.

Bank of America Corp. will provide a “limited amount of additional loans” to shuttered Republic Windows & Doors LLC in Chicago to pay employees occupying a building after the bank ended the company’s line of credit.

Bank of America isn’t obligated to pay Republic’s employees or make additional loans to the company, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based bank said today in a statement. Republic closed last week, sparking the sit-in by employees who blame the bank for cutting off the Chicago company’s credit.

If Bank of America isn’t responsible to pay Republic employees, then who is? Let’s not forget who stole 25 billion big ones from guys just like those who work at Republic.

Republic Windows and Doors announced Tuesday that it would close today because the company could not get continued financing from the Bank of America. Company officials also said they are unable to give workers the 60 days pay and unused vacation as required under the federal WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act.

Today, U.S. Rep Luis Gutierrez, D-4, pointed out that a state law complimenting the WARN ACT requires the company to give workers an additional 15 days pay, for a total of 75.

The WARN Act covers companies with 100 or more full-time employees.

Apparently Bank of America and Merrill Lynch both interpret the bailout as a license to break the law. And though the law may be constant, law-enforcement is often capricious. Just a day after announcing that the state could no longer do business with Bank of America, Governor Rod Blagojevich found himself busted. Why? Was it a Spitzer style blowback by Bank of America?

Assuming that the transcripts of the wiretaps are accurate then there is a good chance that he is going to have a hard time proving his innocence. However, what is it about wiretapping elected STATE executives and why is the federal government doing it? Why was it not referred to the state prosecutors? We now know for sure that two governors have been wiretapped — how many more elected state officials are being subjected to government wire tapping? Isn’t this more overreach by our federal government?

The answer is that it’s probably the feds who rattle around in the bottom of the bank’s deep pockets.

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  2. Dec 11, 2008: Republic Windows situation a precursor to martial law? « The Salty Pundit
  3. Jan 7, 2009: Bank-Implode! » Bank of America - $72.1B
  4. Apr 25, 2009: Bank-Implode! » Blog Archive » Bad Bank of America

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