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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 31, 2009
3:39 PM

CONTACT: SEIU

Mark McCullough, 202-730-7283

With GM Chief Wagoner Out, SEIU Says, 'Fire Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis Next'

SEIU Starts Online Campaign Calling for Lewis' Ouster

WASHINGTON - March 31 - On the heels of General Motors Chief Executive Rick Wagoner's firing Monday for his mismanagement of a company that received billions in taxpayer dollars, SEIU called for Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis to be next.

"It defies logic, common-sense, and responsible governance to punish the auto industry while letting financial institutions off the hook," said Service Employees International Union President Andy Stern. "Both Rick Wagoner and Ken Lewis sunk large public companies--putting thousands out of work and toppling the American economy-- while accepting billions in taxpayer bailouts. Yet only Wagoner got a pink slip. It's time for Treasury Secretary Geithner to replace Ken Lewis as CEO and let real reform take hold at Bank of America."

In an online petition, SEIU listed several reasons Geithner should replace Lewis:

  • $45 billion bailout for more of the same. Bank of America has yet to change its core business practices that ran our economy into the ground in the first place.
  • $5 billion in bonuses met with blind eye. CEO Ken Lewis turned a blind eye when one of his new acquisitions gave out an estimated $5 billion in bonuses right before the company got a $10 billion bailout.
  • $120 million in CEO pay. Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis took home $120 million dollars in 2006, more than 4,000 times what his average employee makes. The era of excess is over.
  • 247,000 forgotten employees. Bank of America is actively fighting the Employee Free Choice Act, which would level the playing with for its employees. And in some states, Bank of America employees take up large portions of public health care because they don't earn enough money.

"Firing GM's CEO is a positive step towards restructuring a broken industry. But the Obama Administration needs to apply the same lesson to the financial sector: replace failed leadership and shepherd the industry into a new era," continued Stern.

Access the petition at http://action.seiu.org/page/s/firekenlewis.

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With 2 million members in Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in the Americas. Focused on uniting workers in healthcare, public services and property services, SEIU members are winning better wages, healthcare and more secure jobs for our communities, while uniting their strength with their counterparts around the world to help ensure that workers—not just corporations and CEOs—benefit from today's global economy.


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