Every holiday there emerges that one special story, so I hope you'll pardon me for deviating from my marketing beat. This year the tale is not the stuff of Christmas miracles, but about 200 guys who, through fighting to be treated fairly, have inspired an entire nation.
If you've not been following the story, 200 workers from Republic Windows and Doors Factory in Chicago, Illinois, staged a 5-day sit-in after being laid-off without warning. They weren't crying over a 10 million-dollar bonus. They simply wanted what was due them... which equates to approximately $6,000 per worker.
They just wanted to be given, under law and their contracts, what was rightfully coming to them for their hard work, which was either 60 days' notice or 60 days' pay.
What were they given? Three days notice, no pay and insurance that was canceled the day before they were notified of their impending unemployment status. The company also took the hit, as it was shut-down since the company's lending institution cut-off their credit line.
Sure, the workers could have filed a lawsuit and waited for months (or, very likely, years) for resolution. But they didn't. They went back to work. And they didn't leave. They all came together, through a peaceful protest and stayed at the factory to ensure that none of the assets like equipment–assets belonging to them, too–were not removed as they had been.
Union official Carl Rosen explained, "This is about more than just money. It's about what can be achieved when workers organize and stand up for justice." A stinging reminder of the times, many of their signs read "You got bailed out, we got sold out."
Folks, I don't work for a factory. Chicago isn't the city I call home. No matter; these guys remind us all of what's really important. Like feeding our families, making sure our kids have insurance, and, most important, that when robbed of just treatment we needn't be robbed of our dignity. Instead of going home, they looked to the guys that worked to their left and right and agreed, "No, this can't stand, so we'll take a stand."
While the story doesn't have a happy ending per se–the workers are still without their jobs--they did get a just outcome as the banks have negotiated the severance packages that were contractually promised to these workers.
Some have expressed concern that their actions might give rise to many more protests during a time of mass layoffs. But all these guys asked for was that Main Street was taken care of as Wall Street has been, and they did so peacefully. To the workers of Republic Windows and Doors, thank you for providing an inspiring and peaceful example for so many Americans during such a difficult time for your families, and our country. I may not know you, but I'll never forget you.
And to Hollywood, this marketer advises: forget scandals over Governors who sell-out the people they've sworn to serve or executives who hop private jets on their way to begging for billions in bailout money. There's no feel-good there. If you're looking for the real story of these times, you need look no further than to these 200 guys who portray humanity's plight for fairness during times that are anything but (and give them money for the story rights–like so many, they're going to need all the help they can get).
Here's a 6-minute video segment of the story:
Take the first step (it's free).
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