The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Ali Jost, (202) 730-715
Marcus Mrowka, (202) 730-7759

White House Plan to Cleanup Wall Street, Stabilize Economy & Protect Consumers Is Strong First Step

In Tough Fight Ahead, Need to Push for Accountability and Transparency of Fed, Greater Voice for Front-Line Financial Workers


Anna Burger, Secretary-Treasurer of the Services Employees
International Union (SEIU) and a member of the President's Economic
Recovery Advisory Board, issued the following statement in response to
the White House's fiscal reform plan.

"The White House plan is a
significant first step towards reforming and holding accountable a
financial system whose irresponsible, risky practices have destabilized
our economy and devastated millions of hard working families.

"We have seen first-hand the impact
of an out-dated regulatory system that failed to curb the reckless
actions of so many financial institutions, pushing millions out of
work, driving others out of their homes, and draining retirement
savings. From heightened accountability and transparency to the
creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency-the White House
proposal would update the regulatory system so that it meets the needs
of an increasingly complex financial landscape whose overall health is
ever more connected to the lives of everyday Americans.

"Despite this strong move by the
White House, we must be on guard for a big fight with the financial
industry and its lobbyists, who continue to try to dilute and nullify
real financial reform. As the debate moves forward, we need a more
robust program to stem home foreclosures. And we need to ensure that
the Federal Reserve's operations become more transparent and
accountable to the interests of working families and to public

"SEIU-joined by a growing coalition
of labor, consumer, and civil rights groups-will not back down until we
build a regulatory system that restores stability and economic
fairness. The stakes for American families and the long-term health of
our economy are far too great.

"Likewise, in order to ensure that
reforms truly protect consumers, SEIU believes we need to complement
regulation from above with regulation from below. If mortgage brokers,
loan officers, personal bankers, credit-card associates and other bank
workers had protections and incentives to stand up and sound the alarm
on dangerous practices, we would not be in the same financial mess we
are today. Moving forward, it will be critical to pass whistleblower
protections so front-line financial workers can speak up and stop
predatory practices before they lead to large-scale economic crisis."

Buttressing the White House's efforts to overhaul the U.S. financial regulatory system, yesterday, SEIU helped to launch Americans for Financial Reform,
a diverse coalition dedicated to giving workers, consumers and
communities a real voice in this debate and a fighting chance to clean
up Wall Street. In coming weeks, SEIU will continue working with the
White House and other partners to pass a fiscal reform package that
provides real protections for consumers and strengthens the U.S.
economy over the long-term.

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.