It's time to level the playing field
When workers at Wells Fargo were faced with crushing pressure to open new accounts or else during Wells Fargo's fake account scandal, too many were forced to try to cope on their own in silence. Those of us who lived through this never want anyone to be put in the same situation again, but we all know history repeats itself if we don't take action. That's why we're choosing to organize a union at the bank: to level the playing field and give workers a fighting chance at one of the biggest banks in the world.
Wells Fargo whistleblowers featured on Netflix series
Get to know the former Wells Fargo employees and Committee for Better Banks members who confronted the bank during the 2016 fake account scandal in Season 2, Episode 1 of the Netflix series "Dirty Money."
Wells Fargo workers with the Committee for Better Banks & the Communications Workers of America have been at the forefront of the fight to improve our conditions and fix the bank’s toxic culture by exposing the root cause of its scandals: mismanagement, extreme pressure and sales goals, employee discrimination and more.
In 2016, CBB members were critical to exposing the bank’s notorious high pressure sales metrics that aggressively pressured frontline workers to meet unattainable sales goals or risk being fired, underscoring the value of how empowered bank workers can benefit customers (see report, “Tipping the Balance: Collective Action by Finance Workers Creates Regulation from Below”).
In 2021, Wells Fargo workers came together to form our campaign to organize a union at the bank in order to advocate for ourselves and customers without fear of retaliation.
CBB’s Wells Fargo Workers United (WFWU) is the only public effort by Wells Fargo employees to organize a union. Since the union’s public launch in 2022, over 900 workers across 29 states have shown their support with new members reaching out every day.
Wells Fargo Workers United has already notched several major victories including:
- Collaborating with shareholders to pressure Wells Fargo into conducting a racial equity audit examining the bank’s employment and hiring practices.
- Providing members of Congress key insights into operations at Wells Fargo ahead of the annual House and Senate bank oversight hearings.
- Meeting 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.
- In a petition with over 620 signatures, WFWU members are uplifting calls for Wells Fargo to enact safe-staffing protocols, give all workers a cost-of-living raise, and respect workers’ rights to organize together.
About the Committee for Better Banks
Who we are:
The Committee for Better Banks (CBB) is the only independent voice for bank, credit union and other financial services workers with a mission to improve conditions in the banking industry through collective action, advocacy and union organizing. We work for fair treatment, just wages, career paths, racial and gender equity, and job security across all lines of business, divisions and geographies. Committee for Better Banks members include current and former employees at large and small financial institutions, including Wells Fargo, US Bank, JP Morgan, Bank of America, Bank of the West, Beneficial State Bank and Navy Federal Credit Union, Lake Michigan Credit Union, Dollar Loan Center and many more.
What we do:
(1) Protect bank customers from unethical practices. Bank workers are often unable to fairly serve customers’ financial needs because they are either (a) penalized if they spend too much time advising customers or (b) pressured to sell customers products they may not want, need, or cannot afford. When workers feel empowered, they can speak out against practices that negatively impact customers. In fact, members of the Committee for Better Banks helped expose the fraudulent accounts scandal at Wells Fargo [see Netflix “Dirty Money” episode].
(2) Create good jobs. Half of the 2.5 million U.S. bank employees are frontline workers like tellers, customer service representatives, loan interviewers and clerks who live paycheck to paycheck. High stress and low pay characterize these jobs. Since CBB publicized studies showing that one-third of bank tellers had to rely on public assistance like food stamps, many of the largest banks have raised their minimum wages to $18, $20 and even $25 an hour.
(3) Educate policy makers, regulators and other stakeholders. The financial system will be more safe, sound, and secure when bank workers are empowered to push back against inappropriate pressures. Prior to CBB forming, frontline bank workers’ perspectives and concerns were rarely taken into account. In the last decade, CBB has been critical to uplifting bank workers' voices, poor working conditions and calls for reform to regulators, shareholders and bank CEOs. Just last year, Wells Fargo workers with the Committee for Better Banks were Maxine Waters’s guests at the annual House Financial Services Committee hearing with big bank CEOs. As part of this effort, CBB has formed the Better Banks Accountability Project, a research-based effort to hold banks accountable for the policies that impact customers, bank workers, communities and other stakeholders.
(4) Assist bank and credit union workers in organizing unions to improve working conditions through collective bargaining. In 2020, CBB helped Beneficial State Bank workers organize the first union in the banking industry in 40 years and, in 2021, helped them win the first union contract in the industry in the same amount of time. “I came to Beneficial from Wells Fargo, and I’ve always thought it had been a good idea to unionize [my workplace],” said Desiree Jackson, an associate vice president in Oakland. “As our bank grows, I want to make sure we don’t grow in the direction that Well Fargo and Bank of America did.” CBB also supported the successful union organizing campaign at Genesee Co-Op Federal Credit Union in Rochester, New York in 2022 and at the South Division branch at Lake Michigan Credit Union in Wyoming, Michigan in 2023, where workers celebrated the first NLRB election win in the industry in decades. Workers at each of these financial institutions are all members of the Communications Workers of America.