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Wells Fargo Workers Win First-Ever Union Election

Bankers & Tellers at Wells Fargo Branch in Albuquerque, New Mexico Vote to Join CWA in Historic Victory for Labor Movement, Financial Service Workers

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Workers at a Wells Fargo branch in Albuquerque, New Mexico voted to form a union on Wednesday, becoming the first-ever Wells Fargo workers to unionize. In an in-person election, bankers and tellers chose to join the Communications Workers of America’s Wells Fargo Workers United (WFWU) and take the next step towards securing a meaningful voice on the job to improve conditions for them and their customers. 

The victory in New Mexico, the first at a megabank in decades, comes as Wells Fargo workers across the country continue to build unprecedented momentum in their fight for a seat at the table. Beyond Albuquerque, additional branch workers have already filed for elections with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), including in Daytona Beach, Florida. Workers across branches and call centers are organizing with WFWU and the Committee for Better Banks in response to rampant understaffing, low pay and mismanagement.

“This victory is not just for those of us working at the Albuquerque branch. It's for the customers we serve every day, and for workers across Wells Fargo. This stands as a testament to workers in the financial services industry who know we need a collective voice to improve the industry we are integral to,” said Sabrina Perez, a Senior Premier Banker at Wells Fargo’s Albuquerque, NM branch. “Our victory today is the first of many to come. Despite Wells Fargo's aggressive attempts to dissuade us, we are igniting a fire and showing our colleagues across the industry that not only is change possible, it is within reach.”

Since bankers and tellers filed for union elections last month, they have been actively pushing back against Wells Fargo’s anti-union attacks, which includes the bank sending out anti-union materials to workers across the country and flying union-busting representatives to branches in a feeble attempt to intimidate workers. 

Meanwhile, at Wells Fargo call centers, Wells Fargo workers have been raising the alarm on the bank’s illegal anti-union activity by filing Unfair Labor Practice charges (ULPs) with the National Labor Relations Board. Last month, workers at a call center in Hillsboro, Oregon reached a settlement with Wells Fargo that requires the bank to inform workers of their right to organize via facility-wide emails and in-person posted notices. The settlement comes after the NLRB found the bank illegally restricted worker organizing by tearing down fliers and implying workers would be reprimanded if they continued to post fliers, and amid growing concern within the bank about a “union resurgence.” 

“Today marks a historic moment for Wells Fargo workers, bankers and the labor movement as a whole. All of us in Albuquerque are incredibly proud to be helping lead this unprecedented change in the financial services industry,” said Alexander Rihani, Associate Personal Banker at Wells Fargo’s Albuquerque, NM branch. “Even as Wells Fargo attempts to push back on our efforts, we are not backing down. In fact, we’re stronger and more motivated than ever before because we know a union is the only way forward for us and the customers we serve each and every day. With our collective voice on the job, we look forward to finally transforming Wells Fargo from the ground-up.”

It was Wells Fargo workers with the Committee for Better Banks who helped sound the alarm on the fake account scandal in 2016. Since then, workers throughout the bank – from branch and call center workers, to tech and wealth management associates – have taken action and been organizing to form Wells Fargo Workers United. 

When asked about Wells Fargo workers’ union elections at the Senate Banking Committee earlier this month and whether the bank would remain neutral to the union campaign, Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf gave an empty answer, stating that the bank wants to communicate directly with workers. In response, Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) responded, “It was an opportunity to show the American public truly a new day at Wells Fargo, and I'm sorry you failed to show that real change is afoot at your bank.”

“The support for a union at Wells Fargo both within the bank and from the outside community is unprecedented. We’ve been in touch with thousands of workers, customers, managers and lawmakers who are ready to see real, worker-led change at Wells Fargo,” said Committee for Better Banks Organizing Director Nick Weiner. “We are so excited to see what the future holds and to continue working towards real accountability at Wells Fargo and across the banking industry. Today, we redefined what is possible for bank workers.” 

Wells Fargo workers with the Committee for Better Banks have fought for years to hold Wells Fargo accountable to promises it has made around diversity and inclusion, access to banking services and more. Organizing workers have collaborated with shareholders to pressure Wells Fargo into conducting a racial equity audit, met with members of Congress to provide insight into Wells Fargo operations and policies and met with officials at the Federal Reserve and Department of Treasury to discuss how federal regulators can further empower workers at Wells Fargo and across the industry. 

The worker organizing effort at Wells Fargo is the first of its kind at a major bank in the United States. In their organizing campaign, Wells Fargo workers are showing the banking industry and the entire country what is possible when workers come together and use their collective voice. They join workers at smaller banks and credit unions, including Beneficial State Bank, Lake Michigan Federal Credit Union and Genesee Co-op Federal Credit Union who have organized their workplaces and made in-roads in one of the least organized sectors in the American economy. 


About Wells Fargo Workers United 

Committee for Better Banks’ Wells Fargo Workers United is the only public effort by Wells Fargo employees to organize a union. With a union, workers are seeking to address chronic understaffing, unfair sales pressure, and unreasonable workloads to improve their working conditions and allow them to better support Wells Fargo customers. Since the union’s launch in 2021, Wells Fargo workers across virtually every state Wells Fargo operates in are organizing with WFWU, collaborating with shareholders, members of Congress, and officials at the Federal Reserve and the Department of Treasury to drive accountability at the country’s fourth largest bank.

About the Committee for Better Banks:

The Committee for Better Banks, the only independent voice for frontline bank employees, comprises bank workers, community and consumer advocacy groups, and labor organizations, coming together to improve conditions in the banking industry. Committee for Better Banks members include current and former employees of banks and credit unions across the country, including Wells Fargo, US Bank, Santander, Bank of The West, and Bank of America.