Serious Energy Looking for New Owner for Chicago Plant–Updated 6 a.m. February 24February 23rd, 2012 by DWM Magazine
Serious Energy, based in Sunnyvale, Calif., announced late on February 23 that it will cease operations of its Chicago-based facility for manufacturing windows and glass products to consolidate operations in two other existing facilities.
Shortly after that announcement, a statement dated February 24 announced that Serious and the United Electrical Workers Union Local 1110 have come to an agreement “to resolve yesterdays’ situation at the Chicago-based window facility. Members of the press received incomplete and incorrect information that Serious Energy would be closing the facility immediately. The Chicago plant remains open at this time, and the parties are working together to find a new owner if possible and explore all other options. Both UE and Serious Energy apologize for any resulting confusion,” said the statement.
It turns out the resolution came after workers staged a sit-in, which was reminiscent of the one that happened back in 2008 when Republic Windows abruptly closed its doors. Serious ultimately bought the plant from Republic and served as an example of putting Americans back to work. Vice president Joe Biden even toured the plant in April 2009 when the plant reopened.
“We started the morning with the plant closing and ended the day with work and a chance to save our jobs,” said Armando Robles, president of UE Local 1110. “We are committed to finding a new buyer for the plant or if we can, buy the place ourselves and run it. Either way, we are hopeful.”
“Ongoing economic challenges in construction and building products, collapse in demand for window products, difficulty in obtaining favorable lease terms, high leasing and utility costs and taxes, and a range of other factors unrelated to labor costs, have compelled Serious to cease production at the Chicago facility,” according to the February 23 statement.
Approximately 46 individuals are employed at the plant and this includes union and non-union positions.
Serious Energy has two other window and glass manufacturing facilities, based in Colorado and Pennsylvania.
Kevin Surace, chairman and CEO, Serious Energy, writes a blog for DWM magazine, and in October 2011 he wrote about the fact that the industry “MUST shed another 50 percent of its capacity at every level right now and forever.”