Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The cost of doing business

CHICAGO (CBS) ― As the sit-in at the Republic Windows & Doors plant enters its fifth day, company leaders, union leaders and Bank of America are all vowing to go back to the bargaining table to end the stalemate. CBS 2's Joanie Lum reports that they talked for a few hours Monday and say they will come back to resume the discussions Tuesday afternoon.

Hundreds of employees have occupied the Republic Windows & Doors factory since last Friday when the company shut down. Their plight to win severance and vacation pay owed to them made them a national symbol of the economy.

The company said it had to fold after Bank of America canceled its credit.

On Monday, union officials met with Bank of America representatives and local politicians to try to resolve the issue.

"The tone that the bank officials took and the discussion really wasn't a debate between the members of the union and my office and others," said Congressman Luis Gutierrez. "It was a tone of reconciliations, a tone of wanting to find an end to this situation."

Governor Rod Blagojevich visited the factory Monday and announced the state would stop doing business with Bank of America. Aldermen urged the city to do the same thing, since the bank received $25 billion as part of the federal bailout.

The laid-off workers continue to guard the assets inside their Goose Island plant in around the clock shifts to make sure the items are not removed. They say the remaining doors, windows, and machinery are the only collateral they have left in their fight to get what they feel they are owed.

The standoff has also come to embody mounting anger over the government's willingness to bail out deep-pocketed corporations but not average people.

If I were Bank of America here is how I would handle the situation.

1. Find out how much the company needs to pay the workers their severance and vacation pay.

2. Write the union a check for that amount and tell then to handle the distribution. Make it clear that this is a gift, not a loan.

3. Record the transaction on the companies books as "Bribe paid to congressional leftists in order to secure massive handout of taxpayer funds".

That would, after all, be nothing more than the truth.