Supports more gun control
The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) severed ties with Wells Fargo after the bank’s CEO failed to meet with union leaders about its relationship with the National Rifle Association (NRA) and gun manufacturers. Wells Fargo is the “go-to bank for gunmakers and the NRA,” according to a report in Bloomberg News, which found that the bank holds NRA’s main account and has been a main lender to the gun rights organization and major US firearm and ammunition companies.
“As educators and school staff, our first responsibility is to ensure our schools and campuses are safe and welcoming environments for teaching and learning,” wrote AFT President Randi Weingarten in a March 29 letter to Wells Fargo CEO Timothy Sloan, asking the extent of the bank’s relationship with the gun advocacy organization. “The NRA, with the backing of gun manufacturers, has used its wealth and power to actively resist gun safety measures that even its own members support,” continued the letter.
The AFT divestment comes on the heels of student and teacher protests against inadequate gun control measures and the NRA’s influence on Congress following the February mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 people dead.
The AFT, with which the PSC is affiliated, chose to end its participation in Wells Fargo’s mortgage lending program after Sloan failed to follow through with meeting union officials. More than 20,000 AFT members hold mortgages through the program.
“Other companies like Bank of America, BlackRock and Vanguard have stepped up and engaged in meaningful conversations about what responsible relationships with gun companies look like, but Wells Fargo won’t,” said Weingarten in a statement.
PSC members participated in the March for Our Lives in Manhattan on March 24 to protest gun violence and to call for gun control measures.
“Students have historically been at the forefront of many powerful movements for justice,” said PSC President Barbara Bowen in a message to members, adding that the union supports the “Parkland students and [the call] on Congress to act.”