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Teachers' union cuts ties with Wells Fargo over NRA support

The Hill logo The Hill 4/19/2018 Avery Anapol

A major national teacher's union announced Thursday that it is cutting ties with Wells Fargo over the bank's connections to the National Rifle Association (NRA)

In a letter to Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) announced that it would no longer offer or promote the Wells Fargo mortgage program to its members.

Randi Weingarten, president of the AFT, wrote in the letter that Sloan's office had agreed earlier this month to meet and discuss the bank's connections to the NRA. Since then, attempts to schedule the meeting have been met with "radio silence," she wrote.

"We can only assume that, in light of your silence ... you have decided that the NRA business is more valuable to you than students and their teachers are," Weingarten wrote in the letter.

The teachers' union earlier this month offered Wells Fargo an ultimatum - either drop the NRA, or the AFT would cut ties with the bank's mortgage program, which more than 20,000 members of the union reportedly participate in.

"The lives of students and educators must be valued more than guns," Weingarten wrote in the original letter. "This is America - Wells Fargo has the right to be the NRA banker, but we have rights too. ... We have a responsibility on behalf of our members and their students who face potential gun violence every day."

Wells Fargo operates accounts for the NRA and has reportedly helped firearm companies with $431 million in loans.

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Weingarten added in the Thursday letter that the union and its members have been "attacked by the NRA and its communications arm, NRATV, in the vilest ways" in the weeks since the union wrote to the bank expressing its concerns.

"Our responsibility to the safety of our students, our members, our communities and the public compels this action," Weingarten wrote.

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