Dec 092008
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

CHICAGO – The creditor of a Chicago plant where laid-off employees are conducting a sit-in to demand severance pay said Tuesday it would extend limited loans to the factory so it could resolve the dispute, but the workers declared their protest unfinished.

The Republic Windows and Doors factory closed last week after Bank of America canceled its financing. About 200 laid-off workers responded by staging a sit-in at the plant, vowing to stay until getting assurances they would receive severance and accrued vacation pay.

Their action garnered national attention, seen by some as a symbol of defiance for workers laid off nationwide.

A resolution appeared closer when the bank announced that it had sent a letter to Republic offering to “provide a limited amount of additional loans” to resolve the employee claims.

The bank appeared to side at least in part with disgruntled workers, expressing concern in a statement Tuesday “about Republic’s failure to pay their employees the Employee Claims to which they are legally entitled.”

Bank of America has been criticized for cutting off the plant’s credit after taking federal bailout money itself.

Leah Fried, a spokeswoman for the union representing the workers, said Tuesday that it was too soon to know whether the sit-in will be called off.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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