March 16, 2011- Jeff Skiles, the co-pilot in the famous "Miracle on the Hudson" landing in January 2009, has been involved in the budget protests that engulfed Madison in recent weeks.
On Tuesday, he took another big step, choosing to withdraw what he said was hundreds of thousands of dollars of his own money from M&I Bank to protest the actions of bank executives there who backed Gov. Scott Walker.
Skiles said Wednesday that he put the money in other financial institutions, and did not technically close his M&I accounts.
"They have supported Gov. Walker and I wanted to send a message to them," Skiles said.
Skiles, on a leave of absence from his U.S. Airways job, said he had no plans to run for public office. He is the highest-profile person who has acted to boycott certain businesses for their support of Walker's bill that would eliminate most collective bargaining for public-sector unions. The bill is set to become law on March 25.
Earlier this month, the heads of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association; the Professional Fire Fighters of Wisconsin; the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 311; Madison Teachers Inc.; Green Bay Education Association; Dane County Deputy Sheriffs Association; and the Madison Professional Police Officers Association sent letters to M&I Bank and, later, Kwik Trip Inc.
Jim Palmer, executive director of the Wisconsin Professional Police Association, said Friday the companies were targeted for either supporting Walker directly, or its executives supported Walker's campaign, or because the companies are members of Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, a pro-business group that supported the governor, or all three.
The groups want companies to state they do not support Walker's effort to eliminate most collective bargaining for public-sector unions. They set a deadline of March 17 for the companies to respond.
Palmer's group had initially targeted M&I and Kwik Trip, and had raised the possibility of adding more companies.