The settlement includes:
- Two months of pay the workers are owed (for not receiving the mandated-by-law two months notice of the plant closing)
- Two months of continued health coverage
- Pay for accrued, unused vacation time
The money comes on loan from Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co. According to the union's website, the money is a loan to Republic Windows and Doors, but it will go into a third-party fund whose sole purpose is to pay the workers the money they are owed.
It sounds to me like the settlement simply makes the company follow the laws that already exist. Even that has become a novel, radical idea after the past eight years.
According to the AP, workers walked out of the plant chanting, "YES WE CAN," a slogan of the Obama campaign.
Elections have consequences. They're not just about who gets into office. They're about the ideas they generate, the networks they organize, and the activism they inspire. Barack Obama's campaign went to great lengths to empower grassroots activists to take "ownership" of the campaign. He reintroduced a language of empowerment to people. He introduced a new idealism. He helped usher it in, and he rode it into office, but he doesn't own it. It's bigger than him.
I think we are seeing just the beginning of a renewal of our democracy, a new era of protest and activism that will echo the '30s and '60s.