About 250 laid-off employees of the shuttered Republican Windows and Doors ended their sit-in at the Chicago factory last week after reaching an agreement that calls for them to receive severance pay and extended health care benefits
The benefits carry a price tag of $1.75 million. They will be covered by the company’s creditors, including a loan from Bank of America Corp. for $1.35 million and $400,000 from JPMorgan Chase & Co.
The resolution put an end to threats by Chicago City Council members, Cook County board commissioners, and state officials to withhold government business — including bond underwriting business — from Bank of America. The warnings were issued in support of employees after the manufacturer shut down with just three days notice after the bank suspended its credit line.
The Illinois Department of Labor also was prepared to step in and file a complaint over the plant closing, and Attorney General Lisa Madigan launched a review of the company’s swift closure. U.S. Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Ill., also was prepared to call for federal probes by the Justice and Labor departments.
The elected officials pressured Bank of America to be more cooperative in helping the company’s workers since it was the recipient of $15 billion under the recent federal bailout. The bank is also expected to receive another $10 billion. JPMorgan has received $25 billion.
Bank of America had defended the move to suspend the credit line by saying it had lent the faltering company the maximum amount of its line, $5 million. JPMorgan had previously written off $5 million in loans to the company and a $7 million investment in the company.
On Monday, the company filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Officials said the liquidation was required by Bank of America as part of its agreement to fund the employee payments in the settlement.