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Axios: Why Wells Fargo is the only big bank where workers are trying to unionize

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For at least a decade, labor organizers have tried to make inroads at the nation's banks, but Wells Fargo is the only big one where workers are actually trying to unionize.

Why it matters: Worker efforts trace back to the bank's recent scandals and demonstrate how a business's failures can ripple out to its employees and culture in the long term.

State of play: About 1,000 bank employees — from call center workers to software engineers and compliance officers — are trying to unionize with help from the Communications Workers of America.

  • Workers want better pay and conditions — including improved staffing levels and the ability to work remotely.
  • Others say there still need to be improvements in the culture that led to the now-infamous fake accounts scandal, where employees were so pressured to sell that they opened millions of unauthorized bank and credit card accounts for customers.
  • "People are ticked off for a lot of reasons," said Nick Weiner, a CWA senior campaign leader.

Driving the news: Three bank employees filed unfair labor practice charges against Wells at the National Labor Relations Board, the workers and union told Axios.

  • They say the bank is preventing organizers from distributing flyers about the union and retaliating against unionizing workers in performance reviews.
  • The latest filings join six other open complaints filed against Wells Fargo, including one that may lead to formal charges from the NLRB, and another where a Texas worker alleges they were fired in retaliation for organizing.


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