Republic Windows ex-workers to get back-pay 7 years after company closed

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Hundreds of workers who were employed by a Chicago window company will share nearly $300,000 in back pay. (WLS)

Hundreds of workers who were employed by a Chicago window company will share nearly $300,000 in back pay.

The money is part of a settlement announced by the National Labor Relations Board.

It's the slow season for windows manufacturers, but the worker/owners of New Era Windows will get a paycheck they have waited for more than seven years.

"(It's) been a long wait but glad to see it finally came... it's about time," said William Swanson, former Republic worker.

"In this case, we have success, and it's good for us, and it's an example for people to follow," said former worker Armando Robles.

Nearly all of the worker/owners were once just the workers for Republic Windows. In 2008, the Republic workers staged a sit-in alleging they were owed back-pay as Republic announced it was closing just before the holidays.

Their sit-in got national attention. As they continued to fight for what they were owed, some started a business co-op called New Era Windows.

And just as New Era is starting to pay off, they and all the 270 Republic workers will get their back-pay as part of a settlement.

"When any company files bankruptcy... the workers are the final people who get anything, and in this case, it's a big win because we get some," said Robles.

"You have to speak out, don't be quiet about the situation, speak up. Ain't no telling what might happen, and here we are now owning our own company," Swanson said. "It's beautiful."

For the 17 worker/owners at New Era, things continue to look up. Last year they sold nearly $1 million in windows, but sales are expected to increase. But they say they still look forward to getting that last check from Republic.
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