New Campaign to Help Bank Workers Blow the Whistle on Corruption and Abuse in their Global Industry

October 7, 2015

Administrator

 

New Billboards in Manhattan’s Financial District Encourage Bank Workers to Become Whistle Blowers Online: “See Something, Do Something”

Bank employees are the new whistleblowers – the next sheriffs of Wall Street.

That’s the message of our new campaign, Whistleblow Wall Street, launched today on the heels of the seventh anniversary of TARP, the bank bailout that occurred during the 2008 financial collapse.

A broad alliance of workers, advocates, and lawyers have come together under the banner of Whistleblow Wall Street (#WBWS) to make it easier to expose wrongdoing in the banking industry.

The website, WhistleBlowWallStreet.com, uses an encrypted process for disclosing statements and documents anonymously, helping bank employees learn about their rights as whistleblowers, and find legal representation. It is the first online resource of its kind specifically to allow bank workers to blow the whistle on corruption while giving them protection and security.

As part of the campaign’s launch today, billboards are going up throughout the financial district that tell workers, “See something, do something,” encouraging them to visit WhistleBlowWallStreet.com to raise awareness of corrupt practices in the banking industry and take action to stop them. The billboards will be visible until the end of October.

To draw attention to the Whistleblow Wall Street campaign, bank workers and their allies are also handing out leaflets in multiple cities throughout the United States this week: New York City, Washington D.C., St. Louis, and Orlando.

“It is too easy for employees to witness bank behaviour, which is harmful to customers or others, and not say anything, due to fear or a misplaced sense of company loyalty. Please, say something! Show personal integrity and report behavior that may be harming others,” said Richard Bowen, former CitiBank executive and whistleblower.

“We’ve bailed out the big banks, transferred the losses and risks to ordinary taxpayers, and seen record profits for the bank executives while corruption remains unabated. Whistleblow Wall Street is urgently needed because too many workers in the global banking sector have no outlet for sounding the alarm about what is wrong and what still needs to be fixed. If the U.S. government and other governments are serious about protecting whistleblowers, they will welcome this campaign,” said John Sellers, co-founder of The Other 98%, one of the key groups behind #WBWS.

“We want bank workers to know that they can do something if they observe wrongdoing or are ordered to violate the law or engage in unethical practices. Whistleblow Wall Street is one of the ways for bank employees to sound the alarm about corruption in a safe and secure way without fear of losing their jobs,” said Louis Clark, President of the Government Accountability Project (GAP), a not-for-profit legal organization specializing in whistleblowing cases that will provide legal support for bank employees who do not know their rights to speak up about wrongdoing.

“It’s crucial that people who work for banks have an outlet for whistleblowing. That is what Whistleblow Wall Street provides. This campaign will help unearth some of the dirtiest secrets of the banking industry—whether it’s call center employees of banks barred from using the bathroom, or bank tellers forced to sell predatory products because of unreasonable sales goal. The list of offenses is long and everything should come to light,” said Stephen Lerner, a fellow at Georgetown University’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, who has focused on organizing bank workers since the 2008 financial collapse.

“This is not about a few corrupt individuals in the financial sector. The laws that govern Wall Street are hardwired to maximize profits, mistreat workers, and shift all costs to tax payers. Wall Street is the canary in the coalmine for unregulated growth-at-all-costs. More whistle blowing from bank workers can help reset the global economy and prevent predatory behavior,” said Martin Kirk, a director of The Rules, a global think-tank focused on economic inequality.

It’s been seven years since corrupt banking practices and lax regulation of Wall Street destroyed trillions in public assets. While some banks and financial institutions are no longer too big to fail or jail, the global economy is still organized against the needs and interests of ordinary people. Whistleblow Wall Street is designed to play a role in shifting the balance of power from the bottom up, enabling bank workers and others to write fairer economic rules for the future.

 #WBWS  | Whistleblowwallstreet.com

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Trump: Join us in connecting the dots

The election of Donald Trump has left millions, maybe even billions of us in shock. Although we may be looking with bewilderment at the US today, we should remember that he is not an isolated phenomenon. He is a symptom of a sickness that is raging all around the world. People are hurting, disillusioned with mainstream politics and increasingly angry at a neoliberal economic system that is destroying lives and the planet with increasing ferocity. And in their desperation they are willing to consider extreme measures to make themselves heard.

Demagogues thrive amid fear and insecurity, which is why they paint the world in such dark terms. It’s a strategy that has put right-wing populist leaders in power in an Axis of Egos: from Brazil to Turkey, the Philippines to Russia, authoritarian strongmen like Trump are on the rise. Meanwhile, many centrist liberals, like the Democratic Party in the US, have been so intent on rejecting left-wing populist solutions, and so sure of their ability to beat anyone running on a white supremacy platform with its misogyny and homophobia, that they opened the door for Mr. Trump to walk straight through. Their preference is always to maintain the status quo that has served them so well.

As dangerous as the election of Trump is for the world, we can also see in this moment the truth that we simply cannot rely on the electoral political system to save us, because it is designed to prevent the fundamental change we need. Its own survival is at stake and it will marshal all its champions and resources to defend itself and stop the emergence of a new system. But when we work, or continue working for change from the ground up; when we build or keep on building new ways of living and being with each other where we live; when we construct or keep constructing the future we know is possible with our own hands, rather than hoping distant leaders will build it for us, we find our true power. Finally, when we combine that with the unbending hope that has powered change through the ages, we know our power has meaning.

A 400-year-old economic system is dying and another is struggling to be born. Change on this scale is not going to be smooth or easy. We should not be surprised, then, that moments like this — where the establishment is dealt a body blow — become more and more common. We can despair when that blow comes in the form of right-wing extremists, or we can step-up. We are the ones we are looking for, who can and must grasp the opportunities in these crises that are undoubtedly there.

So it’s time to come together, taking time to remember the earth. Remember all the successful struggles for justice that came before us, and imagine all those to come. Remember that social movements are growing all over the world and realising the common struggle. Remember life. Then, organise. Find each other and help midwife the inevitable transition that brings forth from the ashes of neoliberal capitalism a system that works for the good of all life on Mother Earth. This is not just activism; this is our responsibility as human beings alive as this all unfolds.

This is why we are here.