From yesterday’s Chicago Sun-Times:
In a largely symbolic move, the Chicago Teachers Union closed its Bank of America account Wednesday and urged others not to keep funds with an institution the union argues has contributed to Chicago Public Schools’ dire financial state.
“We are demanding that Bank of America act as a good corporate citizen and deal fairly with our schools and city, and most importantly, we encourage supporters of public education to take the same action at this bank and other banks profiting from the toxic interest rate swaps,” said Michael Brunson, CTU’s recording secretary, as he stood outside the Bank of America branch at 135 S. LaSalle in the Loop.
Brunson and other officials walked into the bank, closed the account and said they planned to transfer funds — about $725,000 — to another bank.
The union withdrew all of its money from B of A because it disagreed with the bank’s practices and operations. Imagine if all Americans – public school teachers, for example – had the same freedom to refuse to financially support private institutions and organizations with which they differ.
Fortunately for CTU, the bank didn’t require the union to withdraw its money only within a two-week window during the summer. Nor did it inform CTU that it would still need to keep on deposit the portion of the $725,000 that was not used in toxic interest rate swaps. B of A didn’t tell CTU that its action was undermining the finances of other bank customers, and that it should keep the money on deposit in solidarity with them. The bank didn’t complain about loss of influence or impending layoffs. It didn’t spend millions on litigation in an effort to keep the $725,000. Nor did it call CTU a tool of outside interests looking to destroy B of A for political gain.
It just gave CTU its money back.