The Watchdog

Keeping citizens in the loop

UAW protest forces bank (of America) branch to close temporarily!

27 March 2011

Protest in Detroit USA, 24 March 2011,  against the Bank of America – in which NZ Prime Minister John Key – has shares.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXwNoaOpDMw

Bank of America shares – an ‘ethical’ investment?

You be the judge.

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www.freep.com/article/20110324/NEWS01/110324026/UAW-forces-Bank-America-close-temporarily-over-taking-government-money

UAW protest forces bank branch to close temporarily

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Hundreds of UAW members march on Washington Blvd. near Cobo Center in Detroit on Thursday, March 24, 2011. Members wore red shirts in support of the public sector and workers, especially for Wisconsin. 

Hundreds of UAW members march on Washington Blvd. near Cobo Center in Detroit on Thursday, March 24, 2011. Members wore red shirts in support of the public sector and workers, especially for Wisconsin. / WILLIAM ARCHIE/Detroit Free Press
 

By BRENT SNAVELY
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

At the end of the UAW’s three-day bargaining convention in Detroit, union president Bob King led more than 100 members into the Bank of America branch in downtown Detroit today and temporarily shut down its operations for about 30 minutes.

Afterwards, the group joined hundreds more UAW members at the corner of Griswold and Congress streets in downtown Detroit and continued the protest.

King criticized the bank for not paying taxes in 2009, overpaying its executives and opposing legislation such as credit card reform and the Foreclosure Prevention Act.

“Anything that would help the middle class, Bank of America opposed,” King said. “When workers are struggling to pay child care and feed their families, Bank of America in 2010 made about $17.5 billion from credit card and ATM fees.”

Bank of America spokeswoman Diane Wagner said Bank of America paid more than $40 billion in taxes from 2000 to 2009. However, she was unable to say how much the bank paid in taxes in 2009. Generally, companies don’t pay taxes unless they earn a profit.

Wagner also said Bank of America repaid the $45 billion it received in federal stimulus dollars as well as an additional $2.5 billion in dividends. And, in 2009, Bank of America’s outgoing CEO received no pay under an agreement with the government.

On Wednesday, Bank of America announced it would donate and refurbish 10 vacant homes in Detroit.

“Bank of America takes its role as a corporate citizen very seriously and pays taxes in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations,” she said.

King said the protest against Bank of America and corporate tax breaks is connected to the battle for collective bargaining rights and the need to broaden the union’s organizing efforts.

“Banks get bailed out, people get sold out,” King chanted as the crowd joined in.

As the UAW members rallied, they wore red T-shirts in support of the public union members in Wisconsin that have been protesting for weeks as Republican Gov. Scott Walker has worked to eliminate their collective bargaining rights.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of U.S. workers in a union fell to 11.9% in 2010, down from 12.3% the year before. In 1983, more than 20% of U.S. workers belonged to unions.

While the UAW was founded in the 1930s to represent automotive workers, it now represents workers in many industries and its largest unit in Lansing represents 22,000 mostly state government workers. According to the Bureau of Labor, the union membership rate for public unions is 36.2% compared with just 6.9% for private sector workers.

The UAW also believes that Michigan’s public unions are under attack after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed legislation earlier this month that gives emergency financial managers broad authority to terminate employee union contracts and nullify elected boards and councils. Snyder said the powers should only be used as a last resort by emergency financial managers appointed to oversee financially distressed municipalities and school districts.

During the UAW’s closing event on Thursday, actor and activist Danny Glover told members of the UAW that the members of public unions who have been demonstrating are creating a new vision for labor rights in America.

“We must unite under this new vision and stand up and fight and hold on,” he said.

Contact BRENT SNAVELY: 313-222-6512 or bsnavely@freepress.com

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March 27, 2011 - Posted by | Fighting corruption internationally, Internationally significant information

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