USELESS BANK RIDES AGAIN. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristoff published a story in the NYTimes two weeks ago about US Bank firing employees for being good Samaritans after the bank ripped off customer money.
Some poor lout had his account mistakenly frozen and his paycheck funds were not released when they said they would. He spent hours trying to unfreeze his paltry pennies before Christmas. Nada.
Last Christmas Eve, he got stuck trying to pay $20 for gas while out shopping. His card was denied and he was five miles from home on a cold night.
He called the USB customer service center in the same town, Clackamas, a Portland suburb. Emily James tried but could not free up any of the man’s money. With her supervisor’s OK, she drove out into the cold and delivered $20 with a Merry Christmas wish. A happy ending right outta Hollywood, right?
Useless Bank promptly fired her and her supervisor. The bank boss, a guy named Cecere, WHO makes $14 million a year, defended the depredation. Ms. James, an exemplary employee, was soon broke and selling blood plasma. After Kristoff’s story ran, the bank reinstated the manager but Ms. James is still shopping media-generated job offers.
None of this should surprise Tribunites. In 2007, I got a call from Reno-Sparks NAACP matriarch Dolores Feemster about how Janie Boykins-Raschilla had her entire Social Security income confiscated by USB because a 7-11 put an unauthorized 50-cent service charge on her new debit card. She was overdrawn by 37 cents, sending her into overdraft hell. (Barbwire 12-30- 2007)
We put the story on the front page. I don’t know if she ever got any of her money back.
NOT AGAIN. Alas and alack, at presstime I received reports of bullying, violence and suicides at area high schools. Tune in next week or watch NevadaLabor.com/ And put out some emanations/vibrations/ projections or plain ole-fashioned prayers for cures to what ails us.
FREEBIE THREEBIE: Nevada Lt. Gov. Kate Marshall keynotes this Saturday’s Inaugural Reno-Sparks NAACP African-American Health & Environmental Justice Symposium, Feb. 15, 9:00am-2:00pm at the UNR student union. Free breakfast, lunch and parking plus voter registration if you need it at the Democratic Caucus downstairs. Park at no charge in the Brian Whalen or Stadium West garages, then head for the student union 4th floor. Early caucus happens downstairs. Donations welcome. Detailed info at RenoSparksNAACP.org/
MARCH 31: César Chávez XVIII, Atlantis Resort. Sponsored by Laborers’ Union Local 169, the Reno-Sparks NAACP and the usual suspects. Doors open 5:30, dinner 6:30pm. I don’t know how I’ll top my greatest hits of a cherried-out Aretha Franklin 1965 pink Cadillac convertible (with suitable live music) followed by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak with suitable politics, but I’m working on it. Reservations at CesarChavezNevada.com/
UNBURIED HATCHETS. If the giant Nevada Culinary Union pulls out all the stops for ex-VP Joseph Biden the way it did for Hillary in 2016, the Nevada Caucus may hold some surprises. Bernie Sanders had Mrs. Clinton beat cold until Sen. Harry Reid made a few phone calls. He first contacted the DC head of the union, which had announced neutrality and, ahem, nicely asked them to support Hillary. Harry then called Gomorrah South casinos and, ahem, “convinced” them to place caucus voting sites within their properties. Hillary’s Nevada upset of Bernie was a major factor in her recovery from previous upsets, a tie in Iowa (sound familiar?) and getting stomped in New Hampshire.
As reported by the Nevada Independent and Associated Press, sixty-thousand-member Culinary Local 226 is passing out flyers asking its associates not to support presidential candidates advocating Medicare for All. They do not name Sens. Sanders and Elizabeth Warren who’ve made universal health care the keystones of their candidacies.
Unions have a legitimate gripe. Obamacare, which Biden touts as a personal victory, really screwed union health plans. President Obama promised to fix it in a second term but fell short. Union health plans, only available to about 10 percent of US workers, are the gold standard, second only to what congresscritters award themselves. Sanders and Warren need to address this issue and do it now.
Culinary’s parent union in DC, run by former Nevada union chief D. Taylor, just announced neutrality. However, five of its California locals have announced support for Sanders with another endorsing both.
I talked with an insider from LV who thinks that if Local 226 goes with anyone, it will be Biden, which can be enough for a Biden win. But Biden must first reconcile his Obamacare support of the Affordable Care Act’s union flaw.
Alternatively, maybe nothing more will happen, as choices get thin after the above threesome.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 51-year Nevadan, executive producer of Nevada’s annual March 31 César Chávez Day celebration, editor of NevadaLabor.com and SenJoeNeal. org/ He is a withdrawn-in-goodstanding member of Culinary Local 226 and serves as first vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. As always, his comments are strictly his own. E-mail barbano@ frontpage.reno.nv.us. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988.