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Laid-Off Chicago Workers Should Hold Their Ground

El Diario/La Prensa, Editorial, Staff Posted: Dec 09, 2008

Workers at a Chicago plant should not be forced to demand what they rightfully earned. Yet Bank of America is putting them against a wall.

In Chicago, the Republic Windows and Doors plant closed its doors without paying severance and vacation pay owed to its workers. It gave three days notice to its employees, many of whom are Latino.

The union that represents the workers says Republic failed to give them 60 days' notice, as required by law, and that the bank kept the company from paying for work during that period or for vacation time earned. Now, 300 workers face not only unemployment but are also without the anticipated pay they should have been able to count on. They have peacefully taken over the plant to demand their due.

Republic said that it was left with no choice when Bank of America cancelled its line of credit.

Bank of America does not want to be cast as the Scrooge either. The Bank, which received a $25 billion bailout from the federal government, says it is not responsible for the financial obligations Republic made to its workers.

That doesnt sound like the same standard Bank of America would have applied to itself when it held out its hand for taxpayer dollars.

As for Republic, its hard to believe that the company did not see this coming before. Indeed, leaders such as Congressman Luis Gutierrez of Chicago are questioning whether the company was forthright with its workers or even misled them.

We doubt executives at Republic or Bank of America would accept the same kind of mistreatment these workers are receiving. The workers should hold their ground.

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