* Fund decision protest of foreclosure policy in Michigan
* Union wants two-year moratorium on foreclosures
* Protest includes JPMorgan ties to RJ Reynolds
(Adds comments from farm union, background, byline)
By David Bailey
DETROIT, Sept 23 The United Auto Workers plans
to withdraw funds from JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) to protest the
bank's foreclosure policies and a labor dispute at its customer
RJ Reynolds, the union said on Thursday.
JPMorgan Chase is one of the lead underwriters for a
General Motors [GM.UL] IPO that will let the U.S. government
start to sell its stake in the automaker that it guided through
bankruptcy in 2009 with $50 billion of taxpayer funding.
JPMorgan declined to comment on the UAW protest, but last
month said it had offered more than 900,000 mortgage
modifications to homeowners since the start of 2009. The UAW
had no comment on the bank's role in the IPO.
A trust fund affiliated with the UAW holds 17.5 percent of
GM common stock and is expected to sell some of that stake in
the automaker's IPO. The U.S. Treasury owns 60.8 percent of
GM's common stock.
The union said in a statement it was prepared to remove its
funds from the bank to protest JPMorgan's refusal to declare a
moratorium on foreclosures in Michigan and a labor dispute at
RJ Reynolds, which has received financing from JPMorgan.
RJ Reynolds has refused to negotiate with the Farm Labor
Organizing Committee over wages and working conditions at farms
of contract growers in North Carolina, the UAW said.
"Chase needs to help unemployed homeowners in Michigan and
underpaid farm workers in the Carolinas," UAW President Bob
King said in a statement. "The bank could make a huge
difference by suspending foreclosures and pressuring RJ
Reynolds to do the right thing."
An RJ Reynolds representative could not be reached for
In a visit earlier this month, King told the committee he
would support them and indicated he would remove UAW strike
funds from Chase, FLOC spokesman Justin Flores said.
FLOC has sought a meeting with Reynolds for three years to
discuss what the union sees as a pattern of abuse, he said.
"He left here with a renewed sense of outrage," Flores
said. "I am not familiar with the details of the GM IPO, but I
know Bob King supports us. It's another pressure point, I
(Reporting by Kevin Krolicki and David Bailey. Editing by