Workers Frustrated as Unemployment Rises

December 8, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
As unemployment rises, so does the frustration of workers who've gotten the axe."We have been here since yesterday and we aren't going anywhere," said defiant worker Melvin Maclin.

A workers' revolt is underway Monday in Chicago at Republic Windows and Doors. Employees said they were laid off with only three days notice. So they're staging a sit-in until they get the pay and benefits they believe they deserve.

"These workers are now struggling for dignity and economic justice," said Civil Rights leader Jesse Jackson.

The company said it had to shut down after losing its line of credit at Bank of America; one of the very banks bailed out under a federal government program designed to loosen the frozen credit markets.

Republic's workers represent just a handful of the thousands losing their jobs each month. 533,000 workers in the month of November alone; pushing unemployment to 6.7 percent.

"The thing that we have to do right now is to have a bold economic recovery plan," said President-Elect Barack Obama.

Obama is proposing a massive infrastructure plan to get people back to work; the biggest since President Eisenhower's Federal Highway Program.

But Obama won't take office for several weeks and any job creation plan will have to wait.

In Chicago, they've chosen to fight no matter the consequences. "I am going to stay till the end. I am prepared to be arrested if necessary," said Armando Robles.

The nation's Mayors are in Washington D.C. Monday to ask for federal funding for local 'ready to go' infrastructure projects that would put their constituents back to work.



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