Monday, December 08, 2008

Obama's endorsement of the Republic Windows and Doors sit-down is historic

Chicago, Illinois--Just as FDR finally relented in 1935 and backed the right of the UAW, the CIO and other national unions to legally organize and recruit, Obama's support of this strike is a very real step forward. The passage of the National Labor Relations Act
of 1935 was a momentous step in our history that guaranteed the legal right of collective bargaining with ownership, and the right is being reaffirmed. There's nothing "socialist" or "communist" about this, the desire for workplace democracy is as American as apple pie.

could only have happened because the workers--the laid-off no less--of that factory said, "No more, we want what's due to us."They've used their collective-heads and found that they aren't cowards and that they have guts. There really is strength-in-numbers, which is why employers in this country have done their best to keep us all divided. This is because they were always redundant.

The business in Chicago was shuttered giving Republic workers just three days notice, rather than the sixty required by law. Bank of America now holds the debts and obligations of the company but won't pay them. Republic's "bankrupt" owners appear to be in-hiding.

Several politicians have smelled the opportunity that escapes the average American, and have come down to show their solidarity with the workers there who are getting stiffed out of their benefits. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has also thrown-in, stating that Bank of America is under a statewide business injunction until Republic workers receive these benefits.

...We have contacted all of our agencies across state government and as of right now, every agency has been ordered to suspend doing any business with the Bank of America. The Bank of America received $25 billion in taxpayer money as part of the financial bailout. This is exactly, precisely the kind of thing that isn’t right -- when one the one hand, powerful special interests get the help of taxpayer money to bail them out -- the banks -- and yet the purpose of that money was supposed to be to provide a line of credit to businesses like this to keep workers working and keep people employed. And yet the Bank of America has yet to step up and say that they are going to be helpful to this company and keep these workers working. ...
This all sounds like the 1930s again, doesn't it? It's almost been that long since any American governor would dare to say such things towards the business sector. Unionization is coming back, bigger and better than ever, it's coming, and it's time to recognize the opportunities. Make it happen if you want a future. Many of the Republic Window and Door employees are Hispanic, and the UEW (United Electrical Workers) is doing a very good job indeed in lending their support. Solidarity must continue to cross racial and cultural-lines.

In this mix, Obama's endorsement is a very refreshing breath of air, it's going to have a very big impact. He's set himself up for a follow-through. Being the party of big business, the GOP will do their best to ensure he doesn't do this, because the last thing they ever want to do is assist the American worker in anything but emptying their wallets without too much fuss.