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USGNN Original StoryRepublic Reaches $1.75 Million Settlement with Workers

Republic Windows and Doors has reached a settlement with its employees, who've been occupying the plant since it closed on Friday, in which they'll receive eight weeks of pay, two months continued health coverage and pay for all accrued and unused vacation.

The settlement, which totals $1.75 million, was reached late last night. Bank of America announced late Wednesday it was extending a $1.35 million loan to Republic so it could pay employees.

JP Morgan Chase is also funding $400,000 of the agreement.

"We have worked with the company's management and other owners, including Chase Capital Corp., to do the right thing for employees," says David Rudis, Illinois president for Bank of America.

"Compliance with the WARN Act is the responsibility of management and owners," Rudis adds. "Although we are a lender with no obligation to pay Republic's employees or make additional loans to Republic, we agreed to extend an additional loan to be used exclusively to pay its employees."

According to a statement from JP Morgan Chase, beginning in early 2007, Chase Capital Corp., a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase & Co., invested and lent $12 million to help Republic continue to operate, becoming a minority investor in Republic. Chase Capital anticipates no recovery on those loans and investments, company officials say.

A meeting between union workers from the company and bank officials was held yesterday at 1 p.m. CST and negotiations went late into the evening.

The negotiation committee returned to the plant at around 8:25 p.m. CST to discuss the bargaining results with fellow employees.

No statement has yet been released by Republic regarding the recent negotiations or settlement.

Republic announced last Wednesday that it would be closing its doors two days later-on Friday, December 7. (CLICK HERE for the union website, and CLICK HERE for related story).

Republic issued a statement late Monday saying officials had known since mid-October that the company would be closing, and that on November 25, the company requested permission from the Bank of America to issue vacation pay to all employees. According to Republic, that request was rejected on November 26 (CLICK HERE to read Monday's statement.).

Repeated attempts to reach Republic have been unsuccessful.™ reported on Monday that Rich Gillman, Republic president and CEO, was linked to a new window company, Echo Windows, incorporated in the state of Illinois on November 18 (CLICK HERE for that story). Republic issued a statement late Monday about the closure that also made light of his involvement with Echo. Just last Thursday-one day after the announcement that Republic was closing-TRACO announced that it had sold its residential vinyl replacement window business to then unknown Echo. (CLICK HERE for that story).

The Republic story has garnered national attention, including that of President-elect Barack Obama and the interest of all major news outlets. (CLICK HERE for related article from the New York Times.)

Alan Goldberg, contributing writer for USGlass magazine, was at the Republic plant Monday to report on this story. Additional reporting was done by USGlass contributing editors Penny Stacey and Tara Taffera

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