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Biden Hails Stimulus Bill at Chicago Window Plant

By Kari Lydersen
CHICAGO -- Almost five months after Chicago's Republic Windows and Doors factory closed abruptly just weeks before Christmas, leaving about 260 people unemployed, those workers are preparing to start jobs again in what Vice President Biden today said was a prime example of the economic stimulus at work.

After the factory closed Dec. 5, the union workers refused to leave the plant until they were paid $1.75 million owed them in severance and accrued vacation pay. After a six-day factory occupation that was lauded by politicians, including then-President Elect Barack Obama and Gov. Rod Blagojevich, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase lent the company the money to pay the workers.

Kevin Surace, the CEO of a California company called Serious Materials that makes energy efficient windows and ecologically friendly drywall, read about the struggle and offered to reopen the plant in hopes of taking advantage of weatherization funds in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) then being hammered out. He bought the equipment and negotiated a contract with the union, the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE), promising to respect previous seniority and pay rates.

On Monday, Biden visited the plant and called the $8 billion weatherization and energy efficiency component of the ARRA "the immediate biggest bang for the buck." The program, administered through the Department of Energy, includes $5 billion for the Weatherization Assistance Program and $3 billion for the State Energy Program.

"It has the advantage of creating jobs, jobs rights here in America," said Biden, who was joined by Sens. Dick Durbin and Roland Burris, Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley and a variety of state politicians. "Good jobs, union jobs, jobs people can raise a middle class family on. This in a nutshell is what the Recovery and Reinvestment Act is about," Biden said.

Production has not actually started at the factory, though during Biden's visit workers wearing union ball caps and Serious Materials T-shirts ran one assembly line turning out small windows. Surace said he has hired "a handful" of workers to do maintenance on the machines and hopes to hire everyone back within a year.

The union had originally hoped to raise money to reopen and run the factory as a worker-owned cooperative, but were glad to see Serious Materials step in, according to UE Local 1110 president Armando Robles and other members.

"We would have liked to run the factory ourselves, but things don't really work that way in this country," said Vicente Rangel, 35, who worked at the factory for 15 years. Since the factory closing he looked for work with little luck and took classes in computer skills. "There are not too many jobs out there," he said. "I'm a little bit surprised and glad to be back here. The workers stayed united and we were able to do this."

In March, Serious Materials also reopened a Pittsburgh area window factory. Surace said he expects the ARRA to create vastly increased demand for their windows, from government buildings and homeowners. He said he is working with city officials in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Pittsburgh to design requests for stimulus dollars for replacing windows in government buildings."We hope other people look at the Recovery Act and have the confidence to begin buying plants," said Surace. "We happen to have had the right technology, the cash, the ability to do it at the right time. We hope there will be hundreds of companies out there doing it."

Posted at 1:48 PM ET on Apr 27, 2009  | Category:  Economy
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Golly, O'Bomba-Nation and Joe the Union Organizer came through for a Chicago Union!

Who'd have thunk THAT!?

Meanwhile, along the US/Mexican Border, the NON-Unionized Low Wage LEGALLY Residing Workers;

DIE ON THE VINE because the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT THINKS LETTING EMPLOYERS HIRE WORKERS THEY SHOULDN'T IS JUST FINE!

Anger;

Boiling, Seething, White-Hot, Scorching ANGER is Flowing through ME!

MILLIONS of Jobs STOLEN by INVADERS DESTROYING this COUNTRY!

And Union Joe thinks he's Cool! :-(

Posted by: SAINT---The | April 27, 2009 7:47 PM

Posted by: getsix1: so why is that the federal government get jobs. the wall street bankers keep there jobs. and the union workers get taken care of the rest of the six million unemployed get to kick dirt

-Strap on a pair instead of being a welfare queen is the answer to the 6 million unemployed. Everyone wants to bash the unions, but look what happened in their case....power in numbers beats the lone wolf who can't defend themselves alone. Don't hate on others just because you think you'll be in a position of power later on. Odds are you won't be and you'll be getting the short straw.

Why in the world are you beating up on a union that stood up and demanded that their contract be honored? Why should these middle class workers throw away their 1.75 million COLLECTIVE when individual bankers were getting 10 times that amount to continue failing?

Posted by: theobserver4 | April 27, 2009 5:35 PM

Wow! This is great! Only $8B from "Sheriff Joe" and we can "hope" to restore the jobs in one year!!!
Now the Dept of Energy is making Doors and Windows!! Does that mean we will have a Door and Window Czar??
I forget - which department is doing automobiles??? Do we have a czar for that??
I know the Bank of America really is the Government Bank now - and Timmy "TurboTax" Giethner is the czar there - so we can relax on banking.
All we need now is the Czar of Agriculture to tell us how much corn will go to fuel so we can plan our menues.
Oh - I forgot - that will be in Kommissar Obama's Five Year Plan!
Don't you love it when a plan comes together??

Posted by: thornegp | April 27, 2009 5:28 PM

Posted by: getsix1: so why is that the federal government get jobs. the wall street bankers keep there jobs. and the union workers get taken care of the rest of the six million unemployed get to kick dirt
------------------------------

You need to get some hope and change kneepads and pose for a photo op with Joe The Biden!

Posted by: dcn1 | April 27, 2009 4:48 PM

Unfortunately no one is building now to order these windows. Take a look at what the stats are on building permits and new construction. So these can be greener that a five you old on their first roller coaster, it is pouring money down a rat hole.

When the bill comes due for all of this bloated spending there will be a lot of anger liberals wondering why no one is able to fund these entitlement programs. All of the money that went to the States had strings attached that the States had to continuing the funding. So while the federal taxes won't be hitting this the State will have to find someone to pick-up the tab. Look in the mirror if you want to figure out who.

I don't know about anyone else but the local and State governments here are getting carnivorous in their taxes, fees, fines, penalties, etc. The bill for these spending programs are going to start coming due.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | April 27, 2009 4:30 PM


Barry Soetoro should be impeached for providing our enemies, at a time of war, Top Secret documents that has left America vulnerable. Done so for no other reason but cheap Political motives. And done at the beckoning call from an anti American political donor, Soros.

IMPEACH BARRY SOETORO!!

Posted by: FraudObama | April 27, 2009 4:24 PM

Might be a good story if the unions and Democratic leadership (tax 'em till they leave!) were the root cause for the business closing in the first place.

And as far as the new company goes, good luck making money once the cameras and campaign promises are forgotten, because the taxes and burdens that will be upon you will make that government largess look more like a noose than a gift.

Posted by: dwgerard | April 27, 2009 4:17 PM

Production has not actually started at the factory, though during Biden's visit workers wearing union ball caps and Serious Materials T-shirts ran one assembly line turning out small windows.


Was anyone impolitic enough to call this "window dressing"?


***

"When you see the abuse of power, you've got to speak."

-- VP Joe Biden


EXTRAJUDICIAL PUNISHMENT NETWORK.

Google it.

Any American -- YOU, or someone close to you -- could be its next victim.

Unless Team Obama -- especially AG Holder, SecDef Gates, SecDHS Napolitano, SecTreas Geithner -- take down the draconian Bush-Cheney extra-legal "torture matrix..."

...an array of secret, extrajudicial "programs of personal financial destruction" and government-funded vigilante, terroristic "community stalking"...

...coupled with the proliferation of mind- and body-degrading "directed energy" microwave radiation weapons -- the Zyklon B of a grassroots, government-enabled American Gestapo that continues to "target" untold thousands, if not millions, of U.S. citizens...

...citizens who have not been charged with any crime, but who have been condemned by a covert American Gestapo to a life of "community gang-stalking" and physical degradation...

...tracked with covert GPS devices over a network known to EVERY police force in the nation -- and to federal security, military and intelligence operatives.

Attorney General Holder, you must act NOW to restore human and civil rights in America.

Before the naivete of liberals empowers the saboteurs and Dr. Strangeloves who say "No!" to change.


http://nowpublic.com/world/gestapo-usa-govt-funded-vigilante-network-terrorizes-america

OR (if links are corrupted/ disabled):

http://NowPublic.com/scrivener

Posted by: scrivener50 | April 27, 2009 3:26 PM

I think that this is fantastic. We're investing in growing "green" industries and creating jobs. Not only are we putting Americans back to work, but were creating jobs with a livable wage that people can support a family on.

Politics aside people; the economics make sense and it's good for our country.

Posted by: mfthompson | April 27, 2009 3:17 PM

"I'm going to assume Obozzo broke EVERY campaign promise.

Posted by: Bcamp55 | "
---------
Typical repub, doesn't want to work for his services. Nobody promised you anything for free, perhaps if you lost that cynical attitude you'd do better in a job interview.

Posted by: JRM2 | April 27, 2009 3:11 PM

It could be because you don't seem to know the proper use of the word "there" (their).

Posted by: JRM2 | April 27, 2009 3:09 PM

PORK-O-LICIOUS baby!!!!!

Hey, the election is over. Where is all my free stuff? Health care, food, rims, a house, car(gotta give you a car if you're getting them free rims), day care, iphone, Wii, 14 pair of Nikes, abortions on demand, and a job. OK, you can keep the friggin job. Just give me what's due me.

If I don't get it by tomorrow I'm going to assume Obozzo broke EVERY campaign promise.

Posted by: Bcamp55 | April 27, 2009 3:07 PM

so why is that the federal government get jobs. the wall street bankers keep there jobs. and the union workers get taken care of the rest of the six million unemployed get to kick dirt yes jobs jobs jobs as long as you payed big time on your obama union dues

Posted by: getsix1 | April 27, 2009 2:36 PM

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