Republic Windows

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
5:38pm
Mon Jun 2

Manufacturing, Green Infrastructure Co-Ops Offer Job Opportunities For Chicago Youth

Several Chicago youths are taking part in efforts to increase democracy in the workplace while tackling economic and environmental issues in their neighborhoods through the use of innovative business cooperatives owned and controlled by workers.

Young people from the city's Austin and Rogers Park communities discussed their involvement with cooperative businesses, which are entities owned and managed collectively by workers, at a 2014 Worker Cooperative National Conference held over the weekend at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

In the West Side neighborhood of Austin, an impoverished community struggling with high rates of unemployment and crime, students at the manufacturing-focused Austin Polytechnical Academy launched a business cooperative at their school last year called Mech Creations, which makes trumpet mouthpieces. And on the city's far North Side in Rogers Park, which also faces issues of unemployment and crime, young people are participating in a worker cooperative focused on green infrastructure called Grassroots Ecology. The North Side youth-focused cooperative started building green infrastructure, including rain gardens and barrels to mitigate flooding, in 2012 and plans to incorporate as a limited liability company with cooperative by-laws this fall. Read more »

Quick Hit
by Angela Caputo
12:06pm
Mon Mar 29, 2010

The Republic Windows Ripple Effect

Late last year, we took a look at the ripple effect created by the historic Republic Windows and Doors sit-in, which came in response to the former owner's attempt to close up shop abruptly and withhold pay and benefits from roughly 250 employees. At the time, the take away message from the workers' occupation of the factory was that the company's reckless business practices didn't pay off in the end.

Over the weekend, the Chicago New Cooperative checked in on the efforts of the plant's new owners, Serious Materials, to bring production back to the factory. Plenty of challenges remain. So far, only a small fraction of the former Republic Windows workers have been rehired as the company struggles to retrofit its factory and tap into slow-moving stimulus funding for energy efficiency projects. But it appears that the ripple effect continues, albeit in unexpected ways. From the article:

Ms. [Rocio] Perez said she looked back on the upheaval of the last 15 months as a mostly positive experience because she learned to stand up for herself. She was surprised, she said, to discover that her children had learned the same lesson. When their school faced closing, her daughters said they wanted to follow her example by speaking at a Chicago Board of Education meeting in support of their school.

“I really saw the example we had made by taking our factory and fighting back,” Ms. Perez said. “It was a way for our children who are the future to defend themselves as well.”

Turns out that the school, Peabody Elementary School, was ultimately saved. And Perez is holding out hope that her job will be too. “We’re going to wait," she said, "and we’re going to hope.”

PI Original
by Angela Caputo
2:45pm
Wed Dec 9, 2009

A Look Back At The Republic Windows Ripple Effect

While much of the current local coverage is being devoted to the
anniversary of Rod Blagojevich's arrest, this week also marks one year
since the historic sit-in by the employees of Chicago-based Republic
Windows and Doors.  The occupation of the factory began on ...

PI Original
by Angela Caputo
4:03pm
Thu Sep 10, 2009

Shady Republic Windows CEO Arrested

We already knew Richard Gillman was a shady operator. We watched as the then-CEO of Republic Windows and Doors abruptly closed his Chicago factory last December, stiffing 250 employees on their
paychecks, vacation time, and benefits -- just in time for the
holidays. We then ...

PI Original
by Angela Caputo
5:16pm
Tue Jul 28, 2009

Illinois' Green Job Boom Moves Closer

There were some low points along the road, but last year's workers' rights battle
at Republic Windows and Doors ended on a euphoric note when the
factory's workers won back their withheld wages and vacation time. The
good feelings didn't end there, though. When California-...

PI Original
by Adam Doster
9:39am
Mon May 4, 2009

Hartmarx And Wells Fargo: The Makings Of The Next Republic Windows?

A big labor fight is brewing in Des Plaines.

PI Original
by Josh Kalven
5:17pm
Thu Apr 30, 2009

Daley Stands With The Republic Workers ... Five Months Later

Somehow we failed to notice that Mayor Daley was there on Monday during Vice President Joe Biden's visit to the former Republic Windows factory (which Serious Materials since reopened). Watch his remarks:

This is a great occasion to drop down ...

PI Original
by Angela Caputo
5:45pm
Mon Apr 27, 2009

Biden Gets Serious

On his swing through Chicago today, Vice President Joe Biden
credited the owners of Serious Materials for providing "a story about how
we inspire a better tomorrow" through their decision to reopen the
former Republic Windows and Doors plant. For evidence ...