Republic Windows and Doors (update)
This particular case is emblematic of how asinine our situation has become, but typical, I think, of our future.
Republic Windows and Doors lays off 250 people last week and closes its doors. They get 3 days notice and they end up not getting already-earned vacation time and severance pay. Why? Because Republic Windows and Doors doesn’t have the money.
So they stage a sit-in and it attracts politicians like flies to, uh, bees to honey. Naturally the bad guy in all of this ends up being a bank. You see, the bank, which had extended a credit line to the company saw that the company was circling the drain and pulled the credit line figuring it would never see any of the money again as the company was obviously failing. Unfortunately, for the workers that is, the line was pulled before what amounts to about $3,500 per worker could be paid.
The bad guy is Bank of America and the reason it is the bad guy is this:
As part of government bailout efforts for the struggling banking industry, Bank of America has received $15 billion, and is expected to receive an additional $10 billion. That fact left many workers here seething.
“Taxpayers would like to see that bailout money go toward saving jobs, not saving C.E.O.’s,” said Leah Fried, an organizer for the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America. “This is outrageous.”
Of course the irony of the situation is that BoA got a fairly heavy lecture about making bad loans from the very same politicians (Dick Durbin) who are now saying that it should make a loan it knows it won’t get back to placate the workers who are protesting. But BoA has promised to not make these sorts of loans in the future as a condition of the bailout. So, following good business practices – which would have avoided this mess had they done so before the bailout – they’re now being told they should revert to the bad business practices in which they previously engaged and throw good money after bad.
Just this once. Just in this case. Because, you know, that’s only fair.
Sounds like the same old story to me.
UPDATE: Feeling the positive political vibes emanating from this “to good to pass up” situation, the unpopular governor of Illinois piles on (just before he was taken into Federal custody):
Gov. Blagojevich visit[ed] with laid-off workers at Republic Windows & Doors on Monday. Blagojevich called for state agencies to stop doing business with Bank of America until the bank restores credit to Republic.
[Crossposted at QandO]