A major national teachers union is threatening to cut ties with Wells Fargo over the bank’s deals with the National Rifle Association (NRA).
In a press release Saturday, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) said that it would ditch a Wells Fargo mortgage program unless the company drops its connection to the NRA.
AFT President Randi Weingarten has been in talks with Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan about the partnerships, according to the release.
The group praised other companies, including Dick’s Sporting Goods and REI, that cut ties with the NRA or changed their policies on gun sales in the wake of the mass shooting at a Florida high school in February.
More than 20,000 members of the union participate in the Wells Fargo program to get home financing, according to the release.
“We’re issuing Wells Fargo an ultimatum—they can have a mortgage market that includes America’s teachers, or they can continue to do business with the NRA and gun manufacturers,” Weingarten said in the statement. “They can’t do both.”
The group also published correspondence between Weingarten and Sloan, noting that the AFT has copied the AFL-CIO and plans to encourage other groups involved in the program to drop the bank.
“The lives of students and educators must be valued more than guns,” Weingarten said. “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.”
According to Bloomberg, Wells Fargo has helped firearm companies with $431 million in loans. It also operates accounts for the NRA.