Former Workers Sue Republic - NBC Chicago

Former Workers Sue Republic



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    Employees of Republic Windows and Doors factory occupy the main entrance to the factory last month.

    A union representing Chicago workers whose recent factory sit-in drew national attention are taking new action against the now-bankrupt company.

    United Electrical Workers said it has filed documents with the National Labor Relations Board alleging Republic Windows and Doors violated labor law by hastily removing machinery from the plant as it closed.

    Republic gave workers just a few days' notice last month before firing them. Around 200 workers occupied the plant for nearly a week until the company finally agreed to demands for severance and accrued vacation pay.

    Union spokeswoman Leah Fried said the filing seeks the return of the equipment.

    "We want to try to get the plant reopened," Ron Bender, who worked at Republic for 14 years, was quoted by "If a new owner wants to come in, he needs that equipment to open up the plant."

    Laurie Burgess, attorney for the union, says the company's owner, Richard Gillman, was dishonest in his talks with his employees and the union before the plant closed on Dec. 6.

    "Instead of closing up shop due to economic hardship, which is what the company told the employees and the union it was doing, Republic changed its name, shut down operations, took the machinery, the clients and the jobs to Iowa," says Burgess.

    Messages left for Republic executives weren't returned. has the full story.