The sale of the former Republic Windows and Doors Company to California-based Serious Materials has been finalized with the approval of the bankruptcy court. Serious Materials also reached agreement with UE Local 1110, ensuring that all former Republic employees will be rehired at their former rate of pay, and that UE will continue to represent workers at the factory.
These developments were announced by Local 1110 and the UE Western Region in a press release February 26. A White House press release three days later, from the office of Vice President Joe Biden, praised the development and linked it to the recently-adopted economic stimulus package. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) expressed similar sentiments.
“The reopening of this factory and the rehiring of these workers provide an excellent example of how the money in the Recovery Act is targeted to spur job creation quickly,” said Biden. “These workers will not only earn a paycheck again; they will go back to work creating products that will benefit America’s long-term economic future.”
Armando Robles, president of Local 1110, told the media, “We are happy that the purchase of our former plant by Serious Materials has been approved. Our members are ready to get back to work and make great energy efficient green windows for Serious. We look forward to working together to create green jobs at living wages.”
“We have all been working hard to get our factory re-opened since we ended the occupation on December 10. We are so glad this day has come,” said UE Local Vice President Melvin Maclin.
Illinois’ senior U.S. Senator Dick Durbin – who visited UE Local 1110 members at the plant during their five-day sit-in, also welcomed the pending reopening. “When Republic shut its doors in December, the jobs Illinois lost were not only good paying jobs, they were good for the environment too,” said Sen. Durbin. “Those are the very jobs we need to preserve in order to put our economy back on track. The economic recovery package has recreated a market for energy efficient materials that virtually disappeared as our economic crisis deepened. With $16 billion available for weatherization programs, companies like Republic will be able to reopen their doors and put people back to work.”
Serious Materials CEO Kevin Surace told reporters said the company still must renegotiate a lease for the building and repair factory equipment before the plant can reopen. An announcement regarding the opening day will be forthcoming.
The union’s announcement drew media coverage both in Chicago and nationwide, including an article in the following day’s New York Times.