Follow the Money
A couple of weeks ago I posted a short update in the CUE member newsletter about a corporate/organizing campaign aimed at US banking companies. The UNI Global Union which has been running a corporate campaign and organizing effort in Europe for the last five years has taken aim at US based banks like Bank of America and Wells Fargo with a campaign claiming that workers are forced to meet unreasonable work standards. The CWA has been involved, and a now group of US politicians have entered the fray, according to reports in Bloomberg and Politico.
The CWA mention as reported by Bloomberg last year:
Erin Mahoney, an organizing coordinator at CWA, says the union is invested in organizing bank workers to protect its existing members, who are mainly in government and the telecom and airline industries. “We could bargain a contract that has a 5 percent raise for our members,” she says, “but if their home is foreclosed on, or their grandmother has been pushed with three different credit cards, that affects them, too.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 1.6 percent of employees in finance are represented by a union.
And the group of politicians who sent a letter to Secretary of Labor Tom Perez as reported on 9/22 by Politico Pro:
Eight senators, including Sherrod Brown, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, called on the Labor Department to investigate the workplace environment at Wells Fargo for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Their request, in a letter sent today to Labor Secretary Tom Perez and DOL wage and hour administrator David Weil, follows an enforcement action by the Los Angeles city attorney’s office and federal regulators that found more than 2 million accounts might have been opened without customers’ permission.
That investigation “uncovered a workplace characterized by stringent sales quotas and aggressive incentives imposed on its employees, and staggering neglect by management of the obvious consequences to consumers of those quotas and incentives,” the letter says.
Look for this to become more of an issue in the US national election, and to spread to other banks besides Wells Fargo in the coming months.