Published December 09, 2008
This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," December 8, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: To Illinois right now. Governor Rod Blagojevich is ready to suspend business with the Bank of America. It's all over this sit-in that has been going on at a Chicago window and door factory that just closed.
The governor on the phone with me right now.
Governor, this was so sudden, so fast, that now it's being taken out on Bank of America, who essentially froze the credit to this institution. Where does that stand?
GOV. ROD BLAGOJEVICH, D-ILL.: Well, you just had the mayor of Bowling Green on, and you were talking about all — the feeding frenzy now on Washington for everybody to get the piece of — their piece of the action.
And these big banks, these giant banks, were the first ones in. They're the ones who had a big impact on the financial mess our country is in. They were able to get taxpayers — their elected officials to use taxpayer money to bail them out.
Bank of America received $25 billion in that bailout. And they're supposed to use it to keep businesses afloat and keep working people on the job. And we have a little company here in Illinois that employs more than 240 people. This company used to have credit with the Bank of America.
But, after the Bank of America got its $25 billion, they actually cut the line of credit to this company. And now these workers are looking at not having jobs. And that's not how that was supposed to work.
CAVUTO: But, Governor, do you know the argument has been that this — this company was failing fast, and the bank, cruelly and coldly as it might sound, said, we're not giving good money after bad? Do you know anything about that?
BLAGOJEVICH: Well, they — I am not surprised they would say that.
On the other hand, they just went to Washington. They got the Congress to give them $25 billion of taxpayer money. Where does that money come from? From some of those very workers who were working in that plant out of their taxes.
And now these families are facing a Christmas without mom or dad having a job. And all I can say to the Bank of America is, you can make whatever excuses you want. And maybe, from a financial standpoint, that doesn't make a lot of sense to you. On the other hand, doing business with our state, if you want to do business with us, we expect you to do something to help that company be able to keep those workers working.
CAVUTO: Why did the company move so fast to shutter the facility, though? That's what I don't understand. Normally, when your bank credit line either dries up or it's not readily available, there is a time period here. But they just shut down really fast.
And that is what surprised everyone. What happened?
BLAGOJEVICH: Well, I don't know.
This is a company that has been in Illinois I think since 1947. There are a lot of — there's some speculation that maybe the company is looking to relocate. There is another issue. And that is...
CAVUTO: Do you know if that was the case, Governor? Because, ironically, then, you could be supporting a company that is going to be getting out of Illinois.
BLAGOJEVICH: Well, no, no, no. This company has to stay in Illinois for us to be able to insist on the Bank of America meeting its responsibilities. But...
CAVUTO: Well, how do you know that, Governor?
BLAGOJEVICH: Well, there are some discussions that are taking place today at 4:00 Central Standard Time between representatives of the Bank of America, our Congress, our congressman, Congressman Luis Gutierrez...
CAVUTO: I see.
BLAGOJEVICH: ... the company and the union representing those workers.
But let me point out another issue. And that is, federal law requires, under the WARN Act, that workers who are facing a company that is going out of business get their back pay, their severance pay, and their vacation pay. These workers haven't been given that.
And a satisfactory conclusion to this, at a minimum, means that these workers ought to get their back pay, their severance pay, and their vacation time.
CAVUTO: Real quickly, Governor — and you have been very polite to hang on here in what has been a crazy day for you — you would also stipulate that that would mean keeping the facility in Illinois, right? You don't want to give money to a company that might up and run, right?
BLAGOJEVICH: Yes, needless to say, that's a precondition.
BLAGOJEVICH: No, the company has to stay in Illinois and employ these workers.
CAVUTO: Gotcha. Governor, thank you very much.
BLAGOJEVICH: Thanks for having me.
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