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UAW March Targets Banks, Tax Breaks

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DETROIT (WWJ) – The United Auto Workers Union wrapped up its bargaining convention with a noisy march through downtown Detroit.

They were taking aim at Bank of America, which UAW President Bob King says has taken government help, but not done enough to help homeowners, and the communities where it’s located.

Video: UAW members protest in Detroit.

“In 2009, Bank of America, on $4.4 billion, paid how much in taxes?  Zero!” King said, as he and about a dozen other UAW members rallied inside the bank’s branch in the Guardian Building.  Security officers and Detroit Police stood by, but did nothing to stop the protesters, who left after ten minutes, and continued with a much larger rally downtown.

During King’s presidency, the UAW has stressed a “social justice” agenda, and has protested at other banks that it belives haven’t done enough to help people who are in danger of losing their houses.  The banks have responded that they have programs that have helped thousands of people.

Members, like Edward Magowen of Buffalo, New York were not made aware of the target of the protest, until they actually started marching, but stood behind the union’s new activist role.

“We want to make sure that the standard of living for my children is, if not at least the same as I have, than much better,” Magowen said.

In the final day of the UAW’s three day bargaining convention, actor Danny Glover was honored with a special “Social Justice” award.

The meeting was called to lay out the agenda for all of the union’s contract talks, but particularly this year’s negotiations with the domestic automakers.  The UAW aims to win back concessions that have been given up in the last few years, and find ways to create more jobs.

The formal talks will begin this summer, with the goal of getting the first new contract by mid-September.

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