Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Good And Bad News From Illinois

The corruption scandal erupting around disgraced Illinois Gov. Blagojevich is shocking and disgusting.

Bring him to trial, and if he is convicetd, throw the book at him.

Too bad that the story has taken publicity away from positive developments at the suddenly-shuttered Republic Windows and Doors Company, where workers sat in and appear to be winning some concessions from Bank of America, the lender that took federal bailout money but abruptly pulled the plug on credit to the firm, throwing its work force into chaos and into the sit-in, too.

[In Wisconsin, firms with more than 50 workers must give public notice 60 days prior to a plant closing, thus effectively giving workers two months guaranteed pay and some time to begin to look for another job before the doors close. The law dates back to the sudden closing of the Red Dot Potato Chip plant on E. Washington Ave. in the 1970's. The law was worked out in meetings in the offices of Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, where I was working at the time, and Madison state legislator David Clarenbach, in whose East side district the potato chip plant was located.]

The protesting workers in Illinois won public support of President-Elect Obama - - that's what you get when you put a former south side Chicago community organizer at the doorstep of the White House.

Can you imagine George W. Bush doing or saying anything remotely supportive of workers peacefully taking over their closed plant to make a statement about the fairness of the federal banking bailout.

The workers' story is a great one. How much they win, whether wages through the holiday season, or some jobs, or a shot at a worker-takeover of the company is unknown.

But they have put themselves into the national spotlight, come away with something and gave Obama a chance to highlight both his core values and the good news coming out of Illinois.


Anonymous said...

So what you are saying is that because the bank took bail out money, the government can force it now to provide loans to companies that it feels are worthy, even though the bank might not feel this way? How is this good business sense? This is why is was stupid for these banks to take the money. They should never have gotten in bed with the government. They should have just filed chapter 11

Anonymous said...

If this company is not longer financially viable, who is going to pay back the loan that Bank of American will provide to pay these employees. Instead of going after the Bank of America, maybe these employee should go after the owners of the of company in question.

I guess it is easier to indimidate the bank, this is a common tactic of the left, and your favorite "community organizer" for Acorn. Lets shake down the banks, and force them to provide mortgages to people who would never be able to qualify for them otherwise. Now you want to follow this stupid practice here.

James Rowen said...

I think what is going on now is a negotiation.

Why go off on a tangent about Acorn?

Banks and businesses and groups negotiate all the time, and if the taxpayers are bailing out the Bank, I'd argue it has an obligation to work towards a solution.

Let's face it: the country is in an entirely new and critical phase. We have big problems and they demand new approaches to solve or mitigate them.

As I said, I do not know what the outcome will be, but I am betting the sit-in will spur actions more valuable to the workers and the larger community than an abrupt locking of the doors.

Let's see how it works out.

Anonymous said...

I am not going off on an Acorn tangent. One of Acorn functions was to intimidate banks and force them to give loans in low income communities.

Did you know Jim that the Bank of America did not want to take bailout money, but were told that they had to.

Anonymous said...

The comments that I heard on the radio this morning (I believe WPR)were that the wife of Republic's owner has purchased a new potential manufacturing plant in her name in Iowa where, though a profit is being turned with union workers in Chicago, non-union Iowa labor could be hired at about half the price. The other comment made was that because Republic is making energy star products, keeping the Chicago operation and possibly expanding to Iowa, would be the kind of manufacturing expansion favored under a proposed national work stimulus program.

Anonymous said...

Speculation that Republic may have been hoping/attempting to paint their desire to move production to non-union Iowa as "fault," of BoA.

I suspect more to follow on this.

Anonymous said...

I like the fact that Jessie Jackson Jr (#5) will most liley be indited as part of the whole bribery case for Obama seat.
Who will flip and who will go down next?
Obama knows to pardon any of them would not be the right thing to do unless of course the Hope and Change never met anything more then a marketing plan.
Side note I have an understanding that Mc Gee is getting ready to request a pardon when Obama takes office, maybe we can see him serve on the City Coucil again!

Anonymous said...

hey colt,

I'm sure you are glad to get that bit of trivial pursuit off your chest.

If you do a bit more reading elsewhere, seems that Obama may have been very influential in persuading the Illinois legislature to pass bill taking effect on Jan 1, that severely restricts and penalizes the old, "pay to play" politics.

Thus the gov's hastened rush to try to get something for the Senate pick before the new law took effect.

I'll try to find the link, later.

Anonymous said...

For colt,

Link to Daily Kos, don't worry, reading this probably won't change your point of view.


Just another lefty blog.