Members of SEIU Locals in California joined 99% activists from around the country in holding corporate giant Wells Fargo accountable today in San Francisco. Chants of solidarity and working pride filled the streets as thousands converged in the city's financial district to put pressure the 1 percent to pay their fair share.
The actions took place outside of the Merchants Exchange Building, where Wells Fargo held its annual 2012 shareholders meeting.
Wells Fargo is the nation's largest consumer bank and is among 30 companies that paid no federal income tax between 2008 to 2010. The banking behemoth raked in $19.7 billion in record profits alone in 2011 and $69.2 billion over the last four years while paying only 3.8% in taxes. Yet despite such financial windfalls and being bailed out by tax payers, Wells Fargo has a record of engaging in practices that profit from community losses, including foreclosure, predatory lending, tax dodging, and investment in private prisons.
SEIU joined activists from the labor, faith, environmental and immigrant communities to say enough is enough. Outside of the building, 99 percent activists filled the streets blocking traffic. Inside, protestors held a sit in risking arrest.
"This is about corporate accountability. We want Wells Fargo to invest in people and communities and not in the 1 percent," said Chris Daly, former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and political director for Local 1021. Daly was among thousands who protested the shareholders meeting.
Protestors in San Francisco were joined in solidarity by protestors across the country. "If US Bank and Wells Fargo truly care about this community, why are they so intent to throw families out on the street and empty the neighborhoods of Minneapolis," said SEIU Minnesota activist Mark Freeman.
The protests come on the heels of other significant upsets at Fortune 100 shareholder meetings nationwide.