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National Bank Of Washington (Historic)

Address:
619 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005, US

Category: Labor Struggles/History

Used in the following map:

DC Labor Map

At one time the bank was owned by the Mine Workers. The union made its purchase of 76 percent control of the bank in 1949, for $9.1 million. It sold the bank at the end of 1985.

In the 1950's and 1960's, the National Bank of Washington gave - and received - benefits through the unusual alliance. For a time, Mr. Lewis caused the bank to invest in coal companies, which thereupon promptly became union mines - but infrequently at a profit.

More significantly, after Mr. Lewis won a pioneering, employer-financed U.M.W. health and welfare plan for the union in 1950, hundreds of millions of dollars paid in by the mine operators was kept by the union's bank in non-interest-bearing accounts, which enhanced the bank's profits at the expense of the plan's coal mining beneficiaries.

This unorthodox practice - reaping profits for the union-owned bank by cheating the ill and needy among the membership - was not ended until it was exposed and ordered stopped by a Federal judge at the conclusion of a long breach of trust lawsuit in 1970. The suit, brought by rank-and-file unionists, recovered millions of dollars in interest proceeds never converted to benefits for miners and their widows.

https://www.nytimes.com/1984/06/23/business/umw-plans-sale-its-bank.html
https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/business/1985/12/23/end-of-an-era-sale-of-nbw-becomes-final/74ba88e2-2036-4d8b-be0d-14afa065d1a2/?utm_term=.dcaef9f67136