Union: California company may buy Republic Windows

  • By Claire Bushey
  • Staff Writer
  • January 14, 2009 @ 12:02 PM

The union representing laid-off Republic Windows workers says a California-based manufacturer may buy the company.

Serious Materials, a California-based maker of energy-efficient windows, will ask the bankruptcy court judge to allow it to purchase the company, according to a press release issued today by the United Electrical Workers Local 1110.

Serious plans to rehire the approximately 300 workers who were laid off from Republic, the union says.

Calls to Serious Materials and Republic Windows were not immediately returned.
Republic Windows attracted national attention in December when workers staged a sit-in at the Goose Island plant after they learned they would lose their jobs three days before the factory closed.
The company went into bankruptcy, but the workers won their severance and vacation pay from Bank of America, one of the company’s creditors.
Since then the workers have filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board alleging the company shut down the business without properly notifying the workers and created a corporate alter ego to avoid its obligations to unionized employees.
The chief executive officer of Serious Materials, Kevin Surace, contacted the union in December after hearing media reports about the sit-in, according to the union.
The decision on whether to sell Republic Windows to Serious rests with the judge hearing the bankruptcy case. Mark Meinster, international representative for the union, says he hopes the judge will rule before the end of the week.
“The best benefit for the creditors is to sell the business as a going concern, which means the business could keep operating,” he says.

If it keeps operating, it will be able to repay its debts over time. The union is pushing for a quick decision, Meinster says, because the longer the company is closed the more likely it is to lose customers.
“It’s really in the hands of the bankruptcy court,” Meinster says.

Staff Writer Claire Bushey covers unions and labor issues for the Daily News. She can be reached at 773-362-5002, ext. 14.