Our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have changed.

By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to the new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

Money and Main Street
4 of 5
Republic Windows and Doors factory, Chicago
Republic Windows and Doors factory, Chicago

Some 260 union workers, out of a workforce of 300, took over the Republic Windows and Doors factory in Chicago when it was faced with closure in December. The workers won accolades from President Obama as they occupied the factory for six days, operating in eight-hour shifts and controlling access to the building.

Leah Fried, organizer for the Local 1110 of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, said that Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase declined to extend credit, prompting management to give the workers a three-day notice of closure, which she said was in violation of the 60-day notice required by the federal WARN act.

The purpose of the takeover was "refusing to allow any of the assets to leave the factory until the workers were paid what they were owed," said Fried. The workers were fighting for eight weeks of severance pay and two months of health insurance.

In the end, they won a $1.7 million settlement, Fried said. But they also got more than what they were fighting for: Serious Materials, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., bought the factory in February, saving it from closure.

"People have been slowly but surely called back to the factory," said Fried. "We have an agreement with [Serious Materials] where they have to hire back all the union workers before they can hire anyone from the outside."

Bank of America said that the factory "exhausted its original revolving line of credit with Bank of America and, because of the company's dire financial condition, we declined to extend additional credit beyond the amount of the original loan agreement." The bank also said it provided a $1.35 million loan to the company to pay its employees, "although we were not obligated to do so."

JPMorgan Chase did not return messages.

NEXT: The Colibri assembly plant, East Providence, R.I.
Last updated July 24 2009: 11:38 AM ET
Email | Print | Share  |  RSS
google my aol my msn my yahoo! netvibes
Paste this link into your favorite RSS desktop reader
See all CNNMoney.com RSS FEEDS (close)
More Galleries
Black Friday 2015 in pictures Shoppers around the country braved the crowds to get their hands on the best Black Friday deals. More
Driving the ultimate in '50s Mercedes-Benz style The SC was the car that re-introduced Mercedes-Benz as a global luxury car icon. More
Driving the world's first car Driving a replica of the 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen, the first internal combustion automobile. More

Special Offer