Bank Workers Unionize for the First Time in 40 Years
More than 100 workers at a Tom Steyer-founded bank have unionized with Communications Workers of America (CWA)—becoming the first in the financial industry to win collective bargaining rights in more than 40 years.
Workers at the bank unionized, in large part, to set a standard for the rest of the financial industry to be able to demand higher wages, benefits, and have the ability to speak out in an industry rife with workplace issues.
The newly unionized workers at the community development bank, Beneficial State Bank—which former 2020 presidential candidate Steyer founded in 2007 to provide loans to families, small businesses, and nonprofits across California, Washington, and Oregon—includes bank tellers, loan officers, clerks, and custodial staff. Steyer resigned as the bank’s CEO in July 2019.
“It’s very rare for workers in the financial industry to unionize,” Christina McAlvey, one of the newly unionized workers and a loan underwriter at a Beneficial State Bank branch in Portland, Oregon, told Motherboard. “But one of the reasons I wanted to unionize was because it’s a way for us to have a louder voice. If we have everyone at the table, we have a better chance to tell management what we want and why we want and that makes this a better place to bank.”