History repeated itself, ruefully, for workers at Sound Solutions Windows & Doors Inc. when the Southwest Side window maker shut down this month, shorting them of vacation pay. Many were treated the same way in the closing of its predecessor, Republic Windows & Doors Inc., which led to a six-day occupation of its Goose Island plant in 2008 and drew rebukes from President-elect Barack Obama and other pols.
Ruben Ornelas says he lost eight weeks’ pay at Republic and four at Sound Solutions, where the 51-year-old earned $70,000 a year as a senior assistant engineer. Now a part-time temp, he’s making $11.20 an hour as a ramp worker at United Airlines.
Mike Quick, 50, who grossed $3 million a year as a salesman, forfeited $15,000 in vacation pay at Republic and about half that at Sound Solutions but says, “I almost feel this was worse because of the way it went down.”
Unaffected by Sound Solutions’ demise is Republic’s former president, Richard Gillman, a cousin by marriage of Sound Solutions owner Ronald Spielman. The two firms also were linked by their common interest in airport-related soundproofing contracts, a lucrative business supplied by the city of Chicago.
Gillman, 61, was sentenced in December to four years in prison and fined $100,000 for looting Republic. He’s not spending his days — or nights — in Stateville Correctional Center, however. Instead, Crain’s has learned, he’s a marketing director on a work-release basis at Archway Construction Co. in the Clybourn Corridor, not far from Republic’s former Goose Island factory.