Serious Materials May Reopen Republic Plant

January 15, 2009

The union representing workers at the Republic Windows & Doors plant in Chicago reports that Serious Materials, a manufacturer of high-performance windows and doors, is in the final stages of working out an agreement to purchase the assets of the manufacturer, which closed down operations late last year.

Members of UE Local 1110 staged a sit-in at the Chicago plant last month, attracting national attention and eventually winning severance, health benefits and earned vacation pay, after the plant's previous owner shut down with only three days' notice to workers.

"We are all hopeful about the possibility of Serious reopening our plant. This would be a very happy ending to our struggle," says Melvin Maclin, former Republic worker and Local 1110 Vice President. Though some details still need to be finalized, the union reports it has been told that the parties are very close to inking a deal.

“We can confirm the accuracy of the union press release about Republic Windows that went out today. Serious Materials continues to look at many opportunities to expand our business," says Kevin Surace, CEO of the Sunnyvale, Calif. based company. "And while I cannot discuss specifics, we are certainly hopeful these workers can get back to work quickly, doing what they do best. To the extent we, or others, can turn a bad situation into new green collar jobs focused on energy savings and in line with Obama's environmental focus, that would be a win for the workers and the planet.”

Serious Materials bills itself as a manufacturer of energy saving green building products. It produces Thermaproof windows and doors and Alpenglass IG, as well as Eco-Rock, an environmentally friendly sheetrock.  It operates plants Sunnyvale and Newark, Calif., as well as Boulder, Colo., and has announced its intent to open another plant in the Northeast. The company was voted #1 at Cleantech Venture Forum XII, and has been recognized by TIME/CNN, Fortune and Business Week as one of the most promising green companies.