One of the highest-profile union leaders in the country criticized the president on Tuesday for having a double standard for the automotive and financial sector bailouts.
Andy Stern, president of the SEIU, said that it "defies logic, common-sense, and responsible governance to punish the auto industry while letting financial institutions off the hook."
In a statement provided to the Huffington Post, the union leader went on to call on Obama to fire Ken Lewis, the head of Bank of America, if he felt the need to axe GM's header, Rick Wagoner.
"Both Rick Wagoner and Ken Lewis sunk large public companies -- putting thousands out of work and toppling the American economy -- while accepting billions in taxpayer bailouts. Yet only Wagoner got a pink slip. It's time for Treasury Secretary Geithner to replace Ken Lewis as CEO and let real reform take hold at Bank of America," said Stern. "Firing GM's CEO is a positive step towards restructuring a broken industry. But the Obama Administration needs to apply the same lesson to the financial sector: replace failed leadership and shepherd the industry into a new era."
Stern's remarks represent some of the sharpest condemnation of Obama's handling of the automotive and banking industry bailouts to date. Earlier in the morning the SEIU and Change To Win sent out an email publicly urging Giethner to fire Lewis.
I have a story for you.
Two CEOs lead two large public companies that start sinking, putting thousands out of work and toppling the American economy. Both CEOs accepted billions in taxpayer dollars to sustain their companies, but both failed to stop their companies' downward spirals.
One CEO -- GM's Rick Wagoner -- got his pink slip from President Obama this morning. The other -- Bank of America's Ken Lewis -- accepted bailout funds while continuing to fleece consumers and taxpayers.
It's time for the Obama Administration to show the door to CEO Ken Lewis in order for real reform to take hold at Bank of America.
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