The group of workers who famously occupied Republic Windows and Doors in 2008 and again in 2012 incorporated a worker-run cooperative on May 30, 2012.
"We learned how to fight against the bosses and now to negotiate contracts with the owners of Republic and Serious Energy, how to negotiate in contract negotiations and how to make escalating actions before going on strike."
The story began in 2008, when the Republic Windows and Doors Factory shut its doors without paying workers their severance pay or accrued vacation time in "a perfect parable of all that was wrong with the financial crisis."
"Just a few days after receiving $25 billion in bailout funds from the federal government, Bank of America cut off the company's credit line, leading Republic's management to immediately and unceremoniously fire all 250 workers without providing the 60 days' notice or 60 days' pay required of them by the federal WARN Act," reported Salon.
In response, they called for an occupation. The workers spent six days barricaded inside the factory before Bank of America was pressured into agreeing to reopen the company's line of credit, and the workers were paid their due.
Robles says they are working on getting the money together - about $2 million to purchase the machinery - and have already started building the structure of the cooperative: "we already have a steering committee, we have two treasurers. We will keep doing forward."
They expect to start producing windows in two or three months, said Robles, and running their unionized cooperative.