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Were Republic Sit-In Funds Mishandled?

By Kevin Robinson in News on Apr 7, 2009 4:20PM

Image via UE
The Chi-Town Daily News is reporting that monies from the Window of Opportunity Fund, which accepted public donations for displaced workers after the Republic Window plant abruptly closed late last year, may have been mishandled. Two former Republic workers filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the union, UE Local 1110, of failing to disclose how much money was raised. "We just wanted some transparency," Guadalupe Romero told the Daily News. She says that she and others repeatedly asked to see financial statements, and that the local used the funds to support a tour by a select group of workers, rather than to support unemployed workers.

"UE is a democratic union. Workers decide by a vote how to use our funds and we have voted to use our resources to get people back to work. In addition to monthly financial reports, all members are welcome to review our books if they have questions," Armando Robles, president of UE Local 1110 and a maintenance mechanic at the factory, told UPI. The NLRB dismissed the complaint last week, but couldn't provide details as to why. Leah Fried, a UE Local 1110 organizer, told the Daily News that the union has given members detailed breakdowns of contributions and expenditures from the fund, noting that the members voted to spend that money to try and find a buyer for the shuttered plant. Earlier this year Serious Materials, a California-based window make, bought the plant and another shuttered factory in Pennsylvania, rehiring the workers. Serious plans to reopen the Goose Island plant soon.