Some prominent Democratic and progressive groups — including the Democratic National Committee, Democratic Governors Association, and America Votes — are shifting accounts, or at least parts of them, from Bank of America to the union-owned Amalgamated Bank. Politically charged business moves are nothing new. However, news accounts of Amalgamated Bank’s surge in politically conscious deposits have made no mention of its recent history, which includes a bitter struggle over control. As in every power struggle, there were some big winners and some very big losers.
At the center of this drama are the politically powerful Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and its notorious former head, Andy Stern. Amalgamated Bank is controlled by Workers United, a subsidiary of SEIU. SEIU gained jurisdiction over Workers United — and by extension control over Amalgamated — as a result of an ugly, protracted union civil war, which Stern sought to utilize to expand his own union.