GRO Launches Campaign Against Corporate America
COLUMBIA - Members of Grass Roots Organizing (GRO) and GRO Mizzou gathered outside the downtown Bank of America Thursday to deliver a letter confronting the corporation.
Around 15 members showed up to hold signs, chant, and deliver their message before signing the letter and presenting it to branch managers.
The group is targeting several American corporations in addition to Bank of America, including Sallie Mae, WalMart, Wells Fargo and Verizon.
Members want to see these corporations pay more in taxes, create jobs and treat workers fairly, and keep their money out of elections, among other things.
The group said the campaign will continue over the next several months before the shareholders meeting this spring.
GRO's letter read as follows:
"Brian Moynihan, Chief Executive Officer
Bank of America
100 North Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28255
Dear Mr. Moynihan:
We believe Bank of America can and must become a much more socially and environmentally sound business. Your current path has put your company's bottom line in direct conflict with the bottom line of families and communities all across the country. Too many of Bank of America's practices expand inequality, threaten democracy, and are environmentally unsustainable. Whether foreclosing on a record number of homeowners, injecting corporate money into the political and legislative process, or investing in dirty energy, Bank of America has become a symbol for people's frustration with Wall Street and big banks. The toll this has taken on your reputation is significant, but it doesn't have to be this way.
Bank of America, under your leadership, could become a leader in corporate responsibility.
We are the 99% ---- representing hundreds of thousands of workers and retirees, families fighting to save our homes, students, immigrants, small business owners and family farmers. We're writing to let you know that we're coming to your shareholder meeting to raise serious issues about your lending and business practices, and we're coming there as shareholders and stakeholders in your future direction.
The new way forward for Bank of America starts with these steps:
Provide principal reduction to reset the economy: Reduce principal for underwater homeowners to fair market value, especially in communities of color that received your worst and riskiest loans. This will help reset the housing market, pump billions of dollars back into the economy, and create jobs.
Pay your fair share: Pay the statutorily required 35% corporate income tax and stop using
offshore tax shelters and other corporate tax loopholes.
Create jobs and treat workers fairly: Use 50% of corporate cash reserves to create good jobs. Help grow the American economy by investing in small businesses and supporting the rights of workers to organize.
Pledge to keep your money out of elections: Disclose corporate money in elections to date and pledge to keep all corporate money out of the 2012 and future elections.
Fund the future - not dirty coal, payday lending and private prisons. Stop financing for the coal industry and shift the balance of energy financing to support renewable power generation that is less threatening to our environment and health. Stop funding the predatory payday industry and start financing affordable small dollar loans directly. Stop funding the private prison industry and start financing job creation that builds opportunity and wealth in communities of color. We would like to meet with you to discuss our proposal for how you can lead the way toward the creation of a new Bank of America. To schedule a meeting, please contact George Goehl at 312--243--3035.
Sarita Gupta, Jobs With Justice
Rebecca Tarbotton, Rainforest Action Network
May Boeve, 350.org
Leeann Hall, Alliance for a Just Society
George Goehl, National People's Action
Ai--Jen Poo, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Tracy Van Slyke/Ilana Berger, The New Bottom Line
Brigid Flaherty, Pushback Network
Rachel LaForest, Right to the City
David Donnelly, Public Citizen Action Fund"