Sit-in continues at Chicago factory

CHICAGO - Chicago workers in the third day of a sit-in at their former workplace peered through the windows of a door yesterday, amazed by a mix of supporters, politicians and journalists who packed a foyer outside.

"We never expected this," said Melvin Maclin, a factory employee and vice president of the local union that represents the workers. "We expected to go to jail."

The 200 workers demanding severance and vacation pay have become a national symbol for thousands of employees laid off nationwide. They occupied the plant of Republic Windows and Doors after the company abruptly fired them last week.

At a news conference yesterday, President-elect Barack Obama said Republic should follow through on its commitments to its workers. The Rev. Jesse Jackson delivered turkeys, pledging the support of his Chicago-based Rainbow/PUSH Coalition.

- AP

Blackwater Five set for venue fight

WASHINGTON - Five Blackwater Worldwide security guards indicted in Washington in the shooting of Iraqi civilians plan to surrender to the FBI today in Utah, a person close to the case said, setting up a fight over the trial site.

The case already is shaping up to be a series of contentious legal battles before the guards can even go to trial. By surrendering in Utah, the home state of one of the guards, the men could argue the case should be heard in a far more conservative, pro-gun venue than Washington.

The five guards, all military veterans, were indicted for their roles in a 2007 shooting in Baghdad that left 17 Iraqi civilians dead. Steven McCool, a lawyer for Blackwater guard and former Marine Donald Ball, confirmed yesterday that his client would surrender in Utah.

- AP

Tribune Co. hires bankruptcy team

NEW YORK - Tribune Co., owner of the Los Angeles Times and Chicago Tribune, other newspapers and the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field, has hired financial advisers ahead of a possible filing for bankruptcy-court protection, according to reports yesterday.

The Chicago Tribune reported that its parent hired investment bank Lazard Ltd. and law firm Sidley Austin as it considers its financial options. Tribune Co. spokesman Gary Weitman told the newspaper that the company was looking at all its options and had not made any decision on the matter.

The Wall Street Journal, quoting people familiar with the matter, said a bankruptcy filing could come as early as this week. It said Tribune Co.'s cash flow may not be enough to cover nearly $1 billion in interest payments that are due this year. Tribune was taken private last December in an $8.2 billion buyout led by real estate mogul Sam Zell.

- AP

Elsewhere:

A trailer carrying children

in a Christmas parade in Beaumont, Texas, struck and killed a 10-year-old girl who had jumped out of a pickup truck driving among the floats Saturday, police said. The girl had been jumping on and off the truck before she fell and hit her head and was struck by the trailer behind her.