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Wells Fargo CEO Jon Stumpf confronted at U of MN speech

by Brad Sigal |
November 8, 2011
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Protest outside Wells Fargo CEO Jon Stumpf's speech at University of Minnesota
Above:
Protest outside Wells Fargo CEO Jon Stumpf's speech at University of Minnesota (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Protest outside Wells Fargo CEO Jon Stumpf's speech at University of Minnesota Enter a descriptive sentence about the photo here. Protest outside Wells Fargo CEO Jon Stumpf's speech at University of Minnesota
Left:
Protest outside Wells Fargo CEO Jon Stumpf's speech at University of Minnesota (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Center:
AFSCME Local 3800, clerical workers at the U of M, join protest outside Wells Fargo CEO Jon Stumpf's speech at the U of M (Fight Back! News/Staff)
Right:
Protest outside Wells Fargo CEO Jon Stumpf's speech at University of Minnesota (Fight Back! News/Staff)

Minneapolis, MN - More than 50 union activists, as well as OccupyMN participants and others, rallied outside the University of Minnesota’s McNamara Alumni Center on Nov. 8 to protest a speech by Wells Fargo CEO Jon Stumpf.

Stumpf got paid $17.56 million in 2010 in the midst of an ongoing economic crisis that the banks largely caused. The Nov. 3 New York Times reported, "The company that recorded the biggest reduction in taxes was Wells Fargo Bank...The banking company reported a total of $49 billion in profits in 2008 through 2010, yet received a tax benefit of $651 million."

Several people inside Stumpf’s speech also disrupted his talk using a ‘mic check,’ where one person speaks then others repeat the words in a call and response so that everyone can hear it.

Police escorted the protesters out of the talk. When Stumpf left the building at the end of his speech to get into his limo, he was confronted by protesters yelling, “Hey John - when are you going to stop foreclosing on our families?”

“Many in our community and our country rightfully believe that Wells Fargo and the other powerful, dominant banks have done much harm to our economy and our future and the future of our children. We suffer under staggering debt while the real wages of working families have been stagnant for a generation,” said Carol Neiters, Executive Director of SEIU Local 284, the union that initiated the protest of Stumpf's speech.

Phyllis Walker, president of AFSCME Local 3800, the University of Minnesota clerical workers union, participated in the rally outside. She said, “When a CEO of a major bank that’s making over $17 million a year speaks on campus during an economic crisis, we have to let it be known that the lowest paid workers here are being attacked with wage freezes, layoffs and mounting debt. We’ve had enough of this inequality!”

Participants in the rally said that they and other community groups attempted to schedule a meeting with Wells Fargo executives but were rebuffed. They want to discuss proposals for the bank to adopt policies that lower interest rates on student loans, underwrite interest and fee-free K-12 public education borrowing, stop home foreclosures and renegotiate underwater mortgages.

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