It has been one of the most closely watched U.S. labor struggles in recent memory. Ten months ago, 200 workers at Chicago’s Republic Windows and Doors occupied their factory for nine days after factory owners gave workers just three days’ notice of the plant’s closure after Bank of America cut off the company’s line of credit. The protest, organized by the United Electrical Workers union, was one of the first U.S. factory sit-ins since the 1930s. In the months since the occupation, there have been some surprising turns: the factory was bought by another company, and some of the workers involved in the takeover have returned to their jobs.
But will more come of the story? Are the tactics used at Republic to be used again?
Join us as Washington Post reporter Kari Lydersen; former Chicago Tribune Labor reporter Stephen Franklin; and lawyer, author, and former Democratic congressional candidate Tom Geoghegan discuss the historic takeover of Chicago’s Republic Windows & Doors factory and its implications for the future of organized labor. Lydersen is the author of a non-fiction account of the takeover, Revolt on Goose Island, which NewCity called a “clear and emotionally compelling account.” The evening’s discussion will also consider other actions that were inspired by Republic and ongoing efforts to re-open the factory.
This event is free and open to the public. For more information call 312.744.7094.
This event is co-sponsored by The Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, The Public Square and AREA Chicago.
About our panel
Kari Lydersen is a staff writer at the Washington Post. She is the author of Out of the Sea and Into the Fire: Latin American-US Immigration in the Global Age and co-author, with Wafaa Bilal, of Shoot an Iraqi: Art, Life and Resistance Under the Gun, which was recently named a “Best Book of 2008” by Booklist. For more, click here.
Thomas Geoghegan is a practicing attorney and the author of several books, including See You in Court: How the Right Made America a Lawsuit Nation and Which Side Are You On?, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and received a special citation from the PEN/Martha Albrand Award judges. Geoghegan contributes regularly to the American Prospect and lives in Chicago.
Stephen Franklin, former labor and workplace reporter for the Chicago Tribune, is ethnic news director for the Community Media Workshop in Chicago. He is the author of Three Strikes: Labor’s Heartland Losses and What They Mean for Working Americans (2002) and has reported throughout the United States and the Middle East.
For more information, call 312.744.7094.