Protesting “job-icide” at Wells Fargo

June 29, 2009

CHICAGO--Chanting "Wells Fargo, this sucks. Where's our $25 billion bucks?" and "Wells Fargo you can't hide. We charge you with job-icide," more than 75 supporters of United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers (UE) Local 1174 at Quad City Die Casting (QCDC) protested Wells Fargo Bank on June 23.

Protesters treated the area like a crime scene, complete with caution tape and outlines of bodies on the sidewalk, proclaiming that Wells Fargo is committing "job-icide" and "home-icide" against working families.

This was part of a national day of action in over 20 cities across the U.S. to protest Wells Fargo refusing to reinstate credit to a family-owned manufacturing company in Moline, Ill.

QCDC is a successful 60-year-old company facing rough times in this current economic period and needs access to credit in order to avoid shutting its doors and laying off some 100 workers. According to one UE representative, it's a question of "thousands of dollars, not millions."

In spite of the fact that Wells Fargo received $25 billion in federal bailout money, part of which is supposed to help struggling small businesses, it has decided to pull QCDC's line of credit. QCDC will be out of money and forced to close its doors on July 12.

This hypocrisy hasn't been lost on working families. "There's a lot of anger out there and rightly so," said UE International representative Mark Meinster. "They're leaving people to hang out there and dry. Wells Fargo needs to be called to task."

There were many unions and community groups represented, including SEIU Local 73, Teamsters Local 743, UFCW Local 881, the Graduate Employee Organization at the University of Illinois in Chicago, AFSCME DC 31, IBEW Local 134, Chicago Jobs With Justice, ARISE Chicago, Interfaith Worker Justice and many more.

"We just have to stick together more than ever," said UFCW 881 Vice President Moises Zavala. "We have to make this bank accountable and help bail out working families."

Earlier in the day, a delegation of clergy, including members of ARISE and the Interfaith Worker Justice Coalition, went to a Wells Fargo office in Davenport, Iowa, to deliver a letter of community support for QCDC workers. Wells Fargo turned them away. However, five members of the delegation entered the building anyway, and C.J. Hawking of Interfaith Worker Justice delivered the letter to one of the bank officials. They're currently awaiting a response.

Wells Fargo is facing a lawsuit by city officials in Baltimore, Md., for its role in giving high-rate sub-prime loans to African American borrowers. It also is under heavy criticism for its role in attempting to force liquidation during the bankruptcy proceedings of Hartmarx, a unionized clothing manufacturer with 4,000 jobs at stake.

For more information on the continuing Quad City Die Casting struggle, check out their Web site.

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