Ill. Governor suspends all state business with Bank of America
BoA set to lose billions in business as Governor, President-elect show solidarity with workers
In a stinging note of support for the laid off workers that have taken up residency in Chicago's Republic Windows & Doors factory, the Governor of Illinois has suspended business with Bank of America until it reissues credit to the shuttered company.
Bank of America cut off credit to Republic Windows & Doors company last week, and workers, demanding severance pay, began staging sit-ins, effectively taking control of the building.
The governor's bold move comes immediately after President-elect Obama, himself a Chicago native, expressed sympathy for and agreement with the worker's plight and resulting actions.
“When it comes to the situation here in Chicago with the workers who are asking for their benefits and payments they have earned, I think they are absolutely right,” said Obama during a Sunday news conference. “What’s happening to them is reflective of what’s happening across this economy."
Bank of America, Chicago's second largest bank, has received over $15 billion in bailout funds from the federal government. During a Monday news conference, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich insisted that the money was intended to be used for purposes such as this.
"We are reaching out to the management and ownership of the company to see what they can do to help resolve this issue," said Bank of America in prepared statement. "As a creditor of the company, we continue to honor all of our agreements with the company and have provided the maximum amount of funding we can under the terms of our agreement."
“Families are already struggling to keep afloat,” said Blagojevich, in a statement issued by his office. "I hope that the company will be motivated to exhaust all resources to stay open. We should be putting people to work during this difficult economic time — not sending them to the unemployment line."
The New York Times was unable to attain comment from the company's management late Monday.
"We never expected this," factory worker Melvin Maclin, vice president of the workers union, told the New York Daily News. "We expected to go to jail."
Some workers have even said they are willing to spend Christmas in the factory, if necessary.
Founded in 1956, Republic Windows & Doors company employed over 700 people at its height.
This video is from CNN.com, broadcast Dec. 8, 2008.
Download video via RawReplay.com