August 14, 2009
[efoods]Nine months have passed since workers at Republic Windows and Doors occupied their Chicago factory, demanded the severance and vacation pay owed them and ultimately pursuaded Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase to put up the funds.
It was heralded as a potential watershed in modern U.S. labor relations, and now is a natural time to ask what fruits that struggle has yielded.
There has not been an onslaught of factory occupations or worker uprisings. But there is at least one ongoing campaign that is inspired by, and in many ways parallel to, the Republic Windows action — a campaign that’s more wide-ranging and ambitious to boot.
That would be the “Roadblock to Recovery” campaign launched by Jobs with Justice and the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) union of Republic Windows fame, targeting Wells Fargo bank for failing to extend credit to struggling businesses after receiving federal bailout money.
Like Bank of America, Wells Fargo received $25 billion in taxpayer bailout funds last fall (Bank of America later received an additional $20 billion). Now the Roadblock to Recovery campaign is taking a page from the Republic Windows playbook and demanding Wells Fargo show taxpayers some ground-level results of their investment.