CHICAGO Jan 15 A California building products
company is negotiating to reopen the shuttered Chicago factory
where laid-off workers staged a much-publicized sit-in last
month, a union official said on Thursday.
The eight weeks of severance pay and medical benefits won
by the 250 former employees of Republic Windows & Doors is
about to run out, so the offer for the shuttered factory comes
at an opportune time, United Electrical Workers spokesman Mark
The undisclosed bid came from Serious Materials Inc of
Sunnyvale, California, which makes insulated windows and other
green building products at three nonunion factories, which it
says are operating at capacity.
The company's chief executive heard about the plight of the
Chicago workers and called the local union president a week
after the settlement to inquire about buying the factory.
The workers' six-day protest became a rallying point for
resentment over the federal bailout of banks and Wall Street
Any deal for the factory will require approval of
Republic's creditors and the bankruptcy court.
Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), which agreed last month to a
$1.35 million loan to pay the bulk of the workers' severance,
said it would not comment until a deal was done.
The workers recently filed a grievance with the National
Labor Relations Board that accused the owners of Republic of
bargaining in bad faith by shipping some equipment to a
nonunion window manufacturing plant in Iowa, Meinster said.
They want the equipment returned to the Chicago facility,
though Meinster said most production lines are still inside and
the California company said it would retool and install some
The former owner of Republic, which filed for Chapter 7
bankruptcy that usually involves liquidation of assets, said
earlier this week that a creditor has a lien against the
equipment and intended to sell it.
(Reporting by Andrew Stern; Editing by Andre Grenon)