Saturday, July 7, 2012

Help American Workers in Chicago

These workers aren't just fighting for their jobs. They want to buy the factory.
But the factory owners won't take them seriously.
Stand with these workers
Stand with workers in their fight to save the factory from being sold for scrap.
Click to Add Your Name

When the workers at a window and door factory in Chicago were told their factory
was closing and they would lose their jobs, they decided that instead of letting
the company's global investors determine their fate,
they would raise the money to buy the factory and save their jobs.
But they can’t do it, even though they’ve put in a competitive bid on the factory.
Why? Because the owner,
Serious Energy, and its global investors Mesirow Financial, are in a rush to sell
the factory
 to people who will sell it off for scrap instead.
We can help the workers save their jobs.
 Serious and Mesirow know pressure is mounting, which is why they are rushing to
sell the factory off. If we weigh in today, the workers believe Serious and Mesirow
will have to give them a fair shot at buying the factory and saving their jobs.
Stand with the factory workers in calling for Serious and Mesirow to discuss a fair deal that saves the factory and the workers’ jobs.
At the end of the day, this is about much more than saving one factory. This is a
chance to showcase an innovative model of American manufacturing -- worker-owned
cooperatives -- and deal another blow to the financial sector that relies on the
failure of these companies to line their pockets.
By saving this factory, we are helping to build a more just economy for all of us.
Thanks for joining us in fighting for good jobs,
Claiborne, Kaytee and the rest of us
Background story:
In February,
workers at an energy efficient-window and door factory in Chicago were told that
their plant -- owned by Serious Energy -- was about to be shut down
, sliced up and sold off for parts.
The workers staged a factory occupation and got an agreement from Serious to delay
the factory’s liquidation and
give workers the opportunity to buy the plant themselves, with their newly-formed
cooperative, New Era Windows
. With no overhead for executive salaries, and the potential for contracts with the
city of Chicago, which is gearing up for a big energy-efficiency campaign, New Era
Windows was looking at a bright future as a worker-run factory.
But then, after months of stalling by Serious,
the company suddenly announced on Sunday that all factory bids were due immediately,
and that it wouldn’t accept New Era’s offer
 of $1.2 million -- instead, it asked for more money than it bought the factory for
in 2009, and
rigged the process to ensure that New Era didn’t have a chance.
These workers want a solution. They have been scraping money together to afford the
factory and save their jobs. And they’ve fought like hell before -- back in 2008
they occupied their factory for six days and stood down their previous owner who
attempted to fire 250 workers without severance pay.
Part of the pressure to sell is coming from Serious Energy’s owners, including Chicago-based
Mesirow Financial. For Mesirow, selling the factory off to vultures means padding
its profit by a couple percentage points. For the workers at New Era, the factory’s
sale represents their livelihoods.
Stand with the workers at New Era Windows: Tell Serious Energy and Mesirow Financial to work with New Era Windows to find a reasonable solution.
Further Reading:
Workers seek arbitration to save Goose Island window factory
, The Chicago Tribune, 3 July 2012
Workers vs. Investors: Chicago Window Factory in Danger of Liquidation
, The Nation, 5 July 2012
 SumOfUs is a world-wide movement of people like you, working together to hold corporations
accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable path for our global economy.
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I needed my Braille display to tell me the name of the second company Wasn't Mess Around.  I knew no company would call themselves that, yet somehow it Did seem appropriate, as in "Mess Around with your workers" or Mess Over, etc.

Whenever people complain about foreign aid they always say "No one is helping Our workers here at home."  So please forward this to your complaining friends.  You can also tell them that they may have the inconvenience of having to Unsubscribe from receiving further mail, but that this Pales in comparison to losing your job, maybe your house, and possibly having to go to a homeless shelter!

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