Fact Sheet for Wisconsin Protests

Posted on 14/03/2011 by

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From @EyeonMandI, pro-union activist in Wisconsin
Image from www.coto2.wordpress.com

Below is a fact sheet being distributed by the Sheet Metal Workers International Association – please keep an eye on Twitter and our Facebook page tomorrow (March 15th 2011) as dozens of actions are planned. Any questions can be directed there!

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WHERE TO DIRECT PEOPLE: We are working in an unprecedented way, in conjunction with labor activists and other unions both inside and outside the AFL-CIO. Our websites so far in support of this effort are  www.eyeonmandi.com www.twitter.com/eyeonmandi and www.facebook.com/eyeandmandi

BACKGROUND: This is pretty much spontaneous, people seem to be coalescing around it.  It is strategic and will provide leverage that we are going to need in this fight because it is going to be a long drawn out battle now.  This bank is vulnerable in a number of ways.  Most of what people know is that it is a major donor of Walker’s people don’t know it is his largest non-party donors – the Koch story grew legs for various reasons and overshadowed M&I’s role in this as well as their history in Wisconsin politics.

THE BAILOUT: M&I got a bailout in 2008 – $1.75 billion in fact.  http://projects.propublica.org/bailout/entities/306-marshall-ilsley

CAMPAIGN DONATIONS: Last year, M&I executives donated more than the Koch Brothers to Walker:  www.followthemoney.org and (screenshot) http://www.twitpic.com/47n0gc.  They were the largest non-party contributor to his campaign. M&I executives also donated more to Walker than any other candidate, in fact half of all nationwide contributions went to Walker:  http://www.twitpic.com/47t1cj

THE SALE: This February, while events escalated in Wisconsin, M&I began the process of being purchased by the Bank of Montreal.  http://www.jsonline.com/business/112058794.html Part of it involved BMO paying back the TARP money M&I couldn’t seem to pay back. http://www.jsonline.com/business/83481637.html Another interesting component to this merger, is that M&I’s CEO, Mark Furlong, got an $18 million golden parachute through this deal – ironically due to a contract he signed a few years ago that stipulated this compensation package in case the bank was taken over – which BMO had to honor – http://www.istockanalyst.com/article/viewiStockNews/articleid/2802695 – We can send the text of this separately – link requires subscription.

LAST WEEK: The SMWIA, in conjunction with public employee Unions that we have stood shoulder to shoulder with, began hand billing people in Madison last week the day after the bill was signed.  The hand billing had a great response and some coverage:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-bottari/wi-firefighters-spark-mov_b_834879.html

THE BRANCH SHUT DOWN: We believe it may have resulted in that branch being closed for the day as Wisconsin residents began pulling their money and in many cases, their life’s savings from the bank. http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/515607/awesome%3A_wisconsin_firefighters_shut_down_bank_that_funded_walker/

THE BANK RESPONSE: Also, the bank’s response in the press and also in pamphlets left with customers is this:  http://twitpic.com/4899yt.   Their response is misleading.  First, they donated immensely more to Walker than Barrett, the Democrat.  The bank, by the way, is not prohibited from making donations, it also contributes from its bank and many additional donations were found through spouses and family members of higher ranking executives as well.

THE TUNNEL: Besides its financial support for conservative causes and candidates in Wisconsin, the bank has also gone a step further and actually allowed Governor Walker to use a tunnel underneath its building in Madison to shuttle lobbyists as well GOP Senate and Assembly members back and forth underneath the protestors above. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mary-bottari/scott-walker-down-the-rat_b_831386.html

THE FRIDAY NIGHT RESPONSE: In response to the protest, M&I issued a statement(6:49PM on a Friday) insisting that these donations from senior executives were the actions of individuals and not of the bank itself. But those individuals run the M&I Bank. http://phx.corporate-ir.net/phoenix.zhtml?c=75099&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1538676&highlight=

COORDINATED ATTACK ON PUBLIC WORKERS: Additionally, their actions have been coordinated as they and their wives (whose donations were not listed along with other M&I contributions) not only bundled their donations, but did so during fundraisers for Walker such as one on June 11, 2010 at an event where Walker first declared he would be attacking public employees. Full list at http://eyeonmandi.com/donors/

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Posted in: Activism