CHICAGO – Gov. Rod Blagojevich ordered all state agencies Monday to stop doing business with Bank of America to try to pressure the bank into helping laid-off workers staging a sit-in at their shuttered factory. [...]
The sit-in began Friday and has fast become a symbol of the sour economy’s impact on labor. The workers have promised to remain inside the plant in shifts until they get assurances they will receive severance and vacation pay. [...]
Their plight has drawn support from President-elect Barack Obama, the Rev. Jesse Jackson and others. [...]
The laid-off workers are occupying the plant around-the-clock in eight-hour shifts, Fried said. About 60 were inside early Monday.
Obama said Sunday the company should honor its commitments to the laid-off employees.
“The workers who are asking for the benefits and payments that they have earned, I think they’re absolutely right and understand that what’s happening to them is reflective of what’s happening across this economy,” Obama said.
Workers at Republic Windows and Doors crowded into the small company lobby to hear the Rev. Jesse Jackson speak in support of their sit-in, which began three days ago.
“These workers are to this struggle perhaps what Rosa Parks was to social justice 50 years ago,” Jackson says. “This, in many ways, is the beginning of a larger movement for mass action to resist economic violence.”
Jackson says he came to the factory to show his solidarity for the workers, who were laid off Friday as their company closed its doors. Company officials say they had to close because the Bank of America denied the company’s request for $5 million credit. [...]
Bank of America received $25 billion in federal bailout cash, which Republic workers say obligates it to support the company.
“We’re going to have a self induced depression because we are trying to change our economy from the top down,” says Jackson. “It must be changed from the bottom up.”
Jackson says if the change doesn’t happen soon, the consequences will be dire [...]
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