Teachers Union Closes $725 Account To Protest Bank

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A Chicago-based teachers union closed its $725,000 bank account Wednesday in protest against a bank it argues contributed to a citywide fiscal crisis.

The Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) argues Bank of America has been profiting at the expense of the city. The union and city have been in labor negotiations for a year, but financial issues have prevented a final contract. CTU Recording Secretary Michael Brunson was among a group of union officials who marched into the Chicago-area Bank of America to close the union account.

“We are demanding that Bank of America act as a good corporate citizen and deal fairly with our schools and city,” Brunson said outside the bank, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “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.”

Toxic financial deals occur when an asset can no longer be sold and therefore has no tangible value. The union argues Bank of America hid how high-risk the deal was, as to profit while the city fell into a fiscal crisis. The union plans to march in protest Thursday from the bank to city hall.

“We will be transferring the funds to a bank that is not profiting off of toxic interest rate swaps,” Brunson told reporters. “We know that closing CTU’s account won’t be enough, but just imagine if Bank of America was told they would not do business again with the city of Chicago until they address this issue. ”

Democratic Mayor Rahm Emanuel has tried to rein in some union benefits, like pensions, to help control city costs. CTU rejected the latest contract proposal Monday in a move some fear will lead to a strike, reports Reuters. The two sides will now go into a final round of talks, but if no agreement is made a strike could come as early as May 23.

“For privacy reasons, we don’t comment on customer relationships,” Diane Wagner, a bank of spokeswoman, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We’ll work to ensure that our customers will be able to conduct their business at our financial centers without disruption in service.”

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