They have no shame. The upper class in this nation truly believes they are entitled to wealth regardless of how bad they fuck up their companies, our lives, or this nation. I suppose George Bush set the standard.
There's been a lot in the news lately about Republic Windows & Doors. A week ago last Friday, workers there came to work and were told to go home: they were all laid off. But the workers had a union and they knew their rights. They were entitled to 60 days notice under the WARN Act. So they just stayed and occupied the building. The workers were supported by labor and progressives throughout America, including President-Elect Barack Obama.
Bank of America had cut off the funding for the company. Under pressure from politicans and workers, BoA entered into negotiations with the United Electrical Workers Union, Congresman Luis Gutierrez, and Republic Windows & Doors executives in an effort to resolve the sit-in strike.
And that's when it happened. The CEO of Republic Windows & Doors made his demand: Pay for my BMW and Mercedes car leases as part of the loan to pay the workers what they owed under federal and state law.
More, after the fold.
In announcing the settlement, Congressman Gutierrez said,
"This money will only be used to pay the workers the benefits they are owed under the law, and it will not under any circumstance be used for corporate bonuses, luxury cars or any other perk for the owners of the plant."
UE: 'Yes' Vote at Republic: Workers Get Pay, Plant Occupation Ends Now we know what he meant about luxury cars.
The CEO tried to screw the workers one last time:
And at the last minute of negotiations, according to Representative Luis V. Gutierrez, Democrat of Illinois, who helped moderate talks to resolve the standoff, and union officials, Republic’s chief executive, Richard Gillman, demanded that any new bank loan to help the employees also cover the lease of several of his cars — a 2007 BMW 350xi and a 2002 Mercedes S500 are among those registered to company addresses — as well as eight weeks of his salary, at $225,000 a year.
Yes, pay for my f....g Beemer, BoA. My Mercedes, too.
The greed and lack of decency of these people still amazes me.
"I’m not going to describe to you the words that were used when those issues were brought up," Mr. Gutierrez said.
Perhaps Keith Olberman can recognize Mr. Gillman as Wanker of the Year or some other award. Worst Person of the Day just does not do Gillman's asshattery justice.
And there's more:
The workers were not aware, for example, that Republic’s owners had quietly set up a new company, Echo Windows LLC, incorporated on Nov. 18, according to records with the Illinois secretary of state’s office. And Echo had bought a window and door manufacturing plant in Red Oak, Iowa.
Company officials in Iowa declined to comment, but Mary Lou Friedman, the human resources manager at Echo, said in a telephone interview that the factory had 102 employees, all nonunion.
There's a somewhat happy ending here, though:
The demand held up the settlement, which was reached only after Mr. Gillman agreed to back down. (Mr. Gillman said Friday that he had sought the money to offset a large bonus in 2007 that he had chosen not to accept.)
The workers walked out chanting, yes, we did!
With cheers and chants that echoed President-elect Barack Obama's campaign of change, jubilant workers agreed to a $1.75 million settlement that ends their six-day occupation of a shuttered Chicago factory that became a symbol of the plight of labor nationwide.
Republic Windows & Doors, union leaders and Bank of America reached the deal Wednesday evening. Each former Republic employee will get eight weeks' salary, all accrued vacation pay and two months' paid health care, said U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez, who helped broker the deal. He said it works out to about $7,000 apiece.
Yes, the jobs are lost, but the workers did win something. And they provided a spark that may light a confligration seen throughout our nation:
Bob Bruno, director of the labor studies program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, predicted organized labor would be emboldened by the workers’ success. "If you combine some palpable street anger with organizational resources in a changing political mood," he said, "you can begin to see more of these sort of riskier, militant adventures, and they’re more likely to succeed."
It seems to me that Echo Windows' plant in Iowa needs a union. And we need to never forget who it is we are fighting. People like Mr. Gillman have brought this nation's economy to its knees through their greed.
As Mark Meinster of the United Electrical Workers union, said:
"Hopefully this is an example for workers across the country that when things like this happen, you can step up, you can speak out, and you can win"
We can defeat the Gillman's of the world. And we soon will have the President of the United States on our side.
Barack Obama: "I Believe In Unions because ... " (August 05, 2008)
Obama then he talks about what we can do to strengthen unions.
"It's not the Department of Management; it's the Department of Labor."
Obama says that sharing profits with the workers that made wealth possible is a basic principle of American life.
It's our turn. And we will prevail.