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New Era Windows Cooperative Opens Its Doors

By aaroncynic in News on May 13, 2013 3:40PM

Image via Google Maps

The New Era Windows Cooperative, formerly owned by Serious Energy officially opened its doors for business late last week, already making windows for at least five customers. New Era,, originally Republic Windows and Doors, Inc, later purchased by Serious Energy, has been working hard the past few months to organize as a worker owned collective after Serious Energy shut its doors on Goose Island last August. Twice, workers at the factory occupied the space when its prior owners attempted to shut it down and lay the employees off without severance pay.

New Era, now located in McKinley Park at an old Campbell’s Soup Factory on 35th Street (Ed. Note: The location at 2600 W. 35th Street was most recently headquarters for a liquor distribution company. — CS), has about 18 workers who collectively own the business, reports Crain’s. The collective purchased the business for about $450,000. The 18 workers each paid $1,000 to have a stake in ownership of the plant and 20 more are on a waiting list to buy in. Ultimately, New Era hopes to have 40 to 80 employees. Working World, a non profit which has financed 150 companies globally, helped finance New Era.

All of this is ours," Melvin Maclin, one of the 18 worker owners told WBEZ. "We have our own trucks, our own forklifts. It’s a whole new world. “At first we thought we were just lowly factory workers. But now we see we have so much more in us.”