Workers End Chicago Factory Sit-in After Deal Reached

Bank provides loan to pay workers

Abruptly laid-off workers ended a six-day occupation of their shuttered Chicago factory after the bank which cut off its financing said it would give the company a new loan to cover vacation and severance costs.

A deal to direct the $1.75 million loan into a special fund to pay what the workers are owed was reached late Dec. 10.

The 240 workers who began the sit-in on Dec. 5 to fight for compensation they were guaranteed by law had become a symbol of the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people who have lost their jobs amid a deepening recession.

President-elect Barack Obama even waded into the mix at a press conference on Dec. 7 where he said the workers at Republic Windows and Doors deserved to be paid for benefits they had earned.

Union officials called the deal "an historic victory for America's labor movement" and "a win for all working men and women who face uncertainty, unfairness and job loss in a troubled economy."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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