Bank of America — which has been a recipient of up to $45 billion in government aid — paid out $3.3 billion in bonuses for 2008 performance and is expected to pay out bonuses “close to the levels of 2007” for performance in 2009. Meanwhile, the megabank brazenly laid off three dozen security guards from its New York City building last Thanksgiving, and stripped 130 of its guards’ families of health care coverage.
SEIU 32BJ — which represents the workers at Bank of America’s building — has sent a letter to possible Senate Democratic primary candidate Harold Ford, who is an executive at Bank of America in New York and one of the recipients of these bonuses, asking him to use his clout in the company to “ensure that the officers at your buildings are restored to their previous positions and have their full benefits restored“:
When you were a Congressman in Tennessee and running for Senate, you eloquently described the injustice of workers struggling to meet their basic needs while corporations generated record profits. […]
Officers who protect your employees and who live in one of the country’s most expensive cities should not be struggling to support their families while executives make billions in bonuses. As you contemplate a run for the Senate, it is time to show your commitment to improve the quality of life for all New Yorkers—not just the Wall Street elite. I hope that you will help correct this problem at Bank of America and ensure that the officers at your buildings are restored to their previous positions and have their full benefits restored. [We] would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and/or other Bank of America representatives to discuss this further.
Reflecting on the SEIU letter, Open Left’s Adam Bink asks, “Will Harold Ford, Jr. speak out on behalf of SEIU 32BJ members and their families, and work to correct this problem? Or will he toe the Wall Street corporate line – the same line that pays millions in bonuses to executives while thumbing noses at those who protect them?”
,Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan told an ABC News reporter that he sees “no disconnect” between the bonuses and the economic conditions facing most Americans.