In an article heroically chronicling the efforts of 200 union workers “occupying” their old window and door factory the Associated Press made sure to emphasize how the squatters have given the nation’s grim economy a “rallying point.”
Here is how they introduced the story (emphasis added):
The nation’s grim economy now has a rallying point: Employees at a window-and-door factory that went out of business have taken over the building in a siege that has come to symbolize the woes of the ordinary worker.
Yes, that’s right; the AP sees a group of people who are illegally squatting on private property as symbolic of ordinary workers. They even describe the actions of these workers as a “siege” in an apparent sign that the AP thinks people unhappy with the bad economy should rally and lay siege to their work places.
But the AP wasn’t finished glamorizing and militarizing these workers actions:
The Republic Windows and Doors factory closed abruptly last week after Bank of America canceled the company’s financing. Since then, about 200 of the 240 laid-off workers have taken turns occupying the factory, declaring that they will not leave until getting assurances they will receive severance and accrued vacation pay.
Now, not only are the glorious workers laying ‘siege’ to the factory but they are occupying it and declaring their demands for money be met before they leave. As shocking and unlawful as this may seem to others it seems the AP can’t get enough of this behavior.
But the standoff has also come to embody mounting anger over the government’s willingness to bail out deep-pocketed corporations but not average people.
However, even as the AP is cheering on this act which they seem to view as something glorious and militaristic they cast doubts on the legitimacy of the workers claim that the law says they are owed vacation pay because they were not given 60 days notice before they were laid off:
The law allows businesses to close without giving the required notice under certain circumstances, such as if another company that is the sole source of income suddenly goes out of business, said Mark Johnson, president of Erisa Benefits Consulting in Grapevine, Texas, who said he was not familiar with the Republic case.
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