Chicago Mercantile Exchange CEO Craig Donohue was mic checked by working families as he gave a speech to attendees at a trading industry conference in Houston. Four protesters chanted a preprepared message to Donohue and the audience for more than a minute before being escorted out of the room. In particular the protesters complained that CME was getting $1 billion in taxpayers' money while threatening jobs in Chicago.
From a press release issued by Stand Up Chicago:
“Mr. Donohue, as you stand here today, preparing to give the 1% tips on how to get even richer, you are 1,000 miles away from the struggling families of Chicago and Illinois and they are further from your thoughts, even though CME will line its pockets with over 1 billion of their tax dollars over the next ten years.”
“You were only able to get that money by making empty threats to relocate. The 99% of Chicago and Illinois can’t afford to travel here so we are here to ask you a question on their behalf and on behalf of all 99% families everywhere.
Security officers and conference representatives surrounded the protesters and asked them to leave before they could finish their address. The protesters cooperated, allowing themselves to be slowly escorted out of the room, continuing to deliver their message as they went.
One protester managed to capture the Mic Check on video. Even though the video fades to black while the group is being escorted out of the conference room, a final haunting question is audible: “‘What will working families get for their billion dollar investment?’”
When the Illinois state legislature, pressured by empty threats of relocation, voted in late 2011 to give the CME Group over $1 billion in tax breaks over the next ten years, the working families of Chicago and Illinois became unwilling stakeholders in the highly profitable exchange.