The Rapidian

Benefit for Factory Workers

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    A year ago this December, workers at the Republic Windows and Doors Factory in Chicago, Illinois were informed by management that the factory would be closing in three days and they would receive no severance or vacation pay.  Rather than just accept this illegal action, the workers with the help of their union, the United Electrical Radio and Machine Workers, decided to occupy the factory.  After six days of negotiations with the company's creditors, the workers won their pay.
    On Saturday night here in Grand Rapids, The Bloom Collective and the Grand Rapids chapter of the Industrial Workers of the World sponsored a benefit at the Kent Ionia Labor Hall to raise money for the workers and the UE union who are currently engaged in organizing similar actions.
    A documentary on the factory occupation was shown and UE organizer Abe Mwaura held a question and answer session from Chicago via Skype. 
    Event and local IWW organizer Cole Dorsey was also on hand.  Dorsey said this is an important issue because “Workers can take an example from the sit-downers because workers hands are tied when they rely solely on legal means.” 
    Following the question and answer session, local band Chance Jones performed for close to an hour.  Lead singer Josh Burge said “We [Chance Jones] support working people. That's who we are.”
    According to the IWW Facebook page, the event raised over $440 for the workers.

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