Rock Island, Ill. – Deb Johann has lived here her whole life. She has worked at the Quad City Die Casting factory in nearby Moline for the last 31 years. Johann is a proud member and leader of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America (UE) Local 1174. Johann is afraid the 60-year-old company she has worked at for half her life is about to be shut down and liquidated by Wells Fargo. Her husband was recently laid off, and they had just bought a new house.

The bank is a $25 billion recipient of federal bailout funds and is now refusing to extend credit to the Moline business. The plant closing has been announced for July 12 and is expected to put over 100 people out of work, 80 of them are members of UE.

Johann joined 20 of her co-workers and 100 supporters here at the downtown headquarters of Wells Fargo, June 2, to protest and demand the bank keep the business going until a new buyer can be found to save their jobs.

“I’m scared for me and my husband,” said Johann. “Where are we going to live if we lose our house?” Johann has two grown children. “I just thank God I have no kids at home right now,” she said.

“We all need our jobs, and we can’t let Wells Fargo do this to the small people,” noted Johann. “If Wells Fargo keeps us in business I know we can be profitable again.”

Quad City Die Casting is a manufacturer of metal die cast products and is known as a quality leader in the industry.The company is a certified custom manufacturer of magnesium, aluminum and zinc die casting products for automotive, agriculture, consumer and industrial users.

Supporters of Quad City Die say the stability and development of these type of American companies is increasingly important today, especially as the U.S. continues to suffer significant erosion of its manufacturing base.

“We need to fight and keep these people employed,” said Leah Fried, UE organizer. “Wells Fargo has decided to do what’s good for their pockets and are choosing not to invest in these American jobs,” she added. “They got bailed out and we’re not going to let them sell us out.”

Saving these jobs will help the economy and the bank needs to be held accountable, said Fried. “There are corporate citizens out there who want to do the right thing. But the question remains, is Wells Fargo going to be one of them?”

Helen Ptacek has worked at the plant for nine years. “It was very devastating when we heard the news especially when reality hits,” she said.

Ptacek recently fell ill and had routine doctors appointments and missed work for three months. She received a small disability check during that time, but it was not enough to survive on. She had just come back to work when she and her co-workers learned about the plant closing early last May. She is worried because at this point none of them have health insurance anymore. Ptacek said she hasn’t seen a doctor and does not know the condition of her health because she can’t afford to see one.

“This has affected me a lot because what I am personally going through,” said Ptacek. “I know three people who had to cancel surgeries because of this.”

Dino Leone is the vice president of the Quad City Federation of Labor and brought 60 labor leaders from the area to show support for the Die Casting workers at the rally.

“This is a community issue, not just a union issue,” said Leone. “When we lose good paying jobs the entire community pays the price. I say shame on Wells Fargo especially when they take $25 billion of our taxpayer money and not give it to local businesses that have been here for decades.”

Frank Kauzlarich has worked at the Die Casting plant for the last 16 years. He is the vice president of the UE local there. “You don’t stimulate the economy by throwing people out on the street,” he said. “We got enough people unemployed as it is throughout the country, and we don’t need 100 more.”

Kauzlarich said he’s not sure how he is going to keep up with his mortgage, car payments and everyday bills. “It’s going to be really tight and I’m worried about keeping my family together,” he said.

David Jacquin with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31 said, “This fight is about my three kids and the future of American jobs here.” He added, “I’ve lived in the Quad Cities all my life and we have to pull together.’

“This is a typical story about the rich guy and the working man,” he said. “Eventually there will be no rich guy because he continues to sell out working people. And we’re the butter on the bread,” said Jacquin. “Without us they’ve got nothing.”