New Era Windows

A business model based on 'enough'

New Era Windows Cooperative

A business model based on 'enough'

New Era Windows Cooperative

When the boss decided to close their windows factory in 2012, the workers decided to buy it for themselves. Today, they are putting together the New Era Windows cooperative, and they hope to be an inspiration for how future jobs can be created in America. They now own the plant together and run it democratically. No bosses involved. In 2008, after many decades of operation, Republic Windows and Doors went bankrupt and was shut down. This seemed odd as the windows business appeared profitable. Meanwhile, members of the family business opened new windows factories in Chicago, hiring workers through temp agencies. It seemed the reason workers were losing their jobs might not be because they weren't doing profitable work.

New Era Windows

When the announcement to close the plant was made, the workers were told that their jobs would be terminated immediately, and that they would not be given their contractually obligated backpay or severance. While workers were being fired, banks were being bailed out for having taken on too much risk in the pursuit of profits. The workers decided to occupy the factory in protest, and the community came out in extraordinary numbers to support them. The workers and the community won enough of this struggle to get the money that was owed to them. A new green construction company, Serious Energy, took control of the factory and partially reopened it. Things seemed to have turned around.

Ivo Valkenburg

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