The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) President Randi Weingarten is in negotiations to meet with Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan. The AFT’s purpose is to deliver an ultimatum regarding the bank’s ongoing financial support for the gun lobby and gun manufacturers. The AFT has publically taken the position that if Sloan continues Wells Fargo’s support of firearms businesses, the AFT will discontinue its popular Wells Fargo mortgage program offered to members. Last week, the AFT released correspondence between Weingarten and Sloan. The release outlined the union’s concerns about Wells Fargo’s connections with the NRA—as well as its threat to stop offering Wells Fargo mortgages, if Wells Fargo continues being the NRA banker. The Wells Fargo mortgage program is part of the Union Privilege program and approximately 1,600 AFT members have opted for these mortgages annually.
More than 20,000 AFT members currently hold mortgages through the program. If Wells Fargo fails to budge, the AFT will urge other Union Privilege members to follow suit. The AFL-CIO was copied on the correspondence.
AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “The lives of students and educators must be valued more than guns. This is America—Wells Fargo has the right to be the NRA banker, but we have rights too. That’s why if Tim doesn’t ditch his guns business, we’ll ditch Wells Fargo. We are glad Tim wants to meet; but no words will dissuade us from our view that our society must value people over profits. We have a responsibility on behalf of our members and their students who face potential gun violence every day.
“We’re issuing Wells Fargo an ultimatum—they can have a mortgage market that includes America’s teachers, or they can continue to do business with the NRA and gun manufacturers. They can’t do both.” I wonder how the members of the AFT feel about the move. I mean, did the membership vote for this? How many gun owners are by the default of their position members of the union, which is poorly representing their views based on the beliefs or politics of a few top leaders?