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📣CAMPAIGN UPDATE: Congratulations to the Highland Avenue branch for winning their union election last week

Congratulations to the Highland Avenue branch for winning their union election last week. Workers at the branch stuck together despite management dishing out anti-union propaganda left and right during their morning huddles.

“We are incredibly proud to be the first Wells Fargo branch in California to join our growing union movement so we can have a true voice to improve staffing, pay, scheduling, and just making our overall working conditions better,” said Veronica Ambriz, Associate Personal Banker at the branch. “But I am going to make sure that we are not the last. I can’t wait to share my story with our co-workers across the country!”

“We did it! We pushed through all the anti-union propaganda and stuck together,” exclaimed Rosa Cervantes, Senior Teller at the branch. “Upper management tried to make it uncomfortable for us but they could not break the strength of our unity and our fierce determination to bring justice to our workplace.”
Branches all across the country continue to reach out. We are fed up with doing the work of two or three people, all while getting subpar raises. It’s just not okay that many of us and our coworkers need a second job to make ends meet.

So far, workers have won an incredible 91% of the union elections at Wells Fargo. The next elections will be: 

  • May 16: branch in Sierra Vista, Arizona
  • May 22: South Hulen branch in Fort Worth, Texas
  • May 29: branch in Havertown, Pennsylvania 

Who wants to be next? Register for one of our upcoming Union classes taught by one of our union organizers to get more information


5/7 WFWU Union Training: How to Talk to your Coworkers about organizing a union


Wells Fargo CEO forced to respond to unionization efforts at annual shareholders meeting

Wells Fargo's response to worker organizing was put into the spotlight during the April 30th Annual Shareholder meeting as shareholders voted on a proposal introduced to protect employee's right to organize.

The resolution, filed by the AFL-CIO Equity Index Fund, asked Wells Fargo’s Board of Directors to ‘commission and oversee an independent, third-party assessment of [the company’s] respect for the internationally recognized human rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining.'

The proposal details that the requested assessment should ‘evaluate management interference when employees seek to form or join trade unions as well as recommend steps to remedy any practices that are inconsistent with Wells Fargo’s international human rights obligations.’

The proposal was introduced at the meeting by Joanne Cretella, a Personal Banker at the Prospect, Connecticut branch which voted to form a union on March 7. Ms Cretella said, “Wells Fargo is still not living up to its international human rights obligations. I know first hand how management spreads misinformation and anti-union propaganda in an effort to convince us NOT to exercise our freedom of association rights. It was very difficult and very stressful for me personally to stand up to that constant pressure from management. But we did it and we are excited to be part of building this union movement.”

Wells Fargo failed in its attempt to keep the proposal off the ballot by claiming it was "impermissibly vague and indefinite so as to be inherently misleading" to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC rejected this claim.

Despite attempting to keep the resolution off the ballot and recommending shareholders vote against it, Wells Fargo responded in its proxy statement that the bank respects employees' freedom of association and is "committed to bargaining in good faith with the certified bargaining representative of our employees, where one has been designated by election."

While a majority of shareholders did not support the Freedom of Association proposal, investors did vote to increase executive compensation, including giving Charlie Scharf's a whopping $4.5 million raise, bringing his compensation up to $29 million.  This will likely increase the CEO to median employee income pay ratio next year from last year’s skyhigh ratio of 325:1. This means that Charlie Scharf makes at least 325 times  more than the 115,000 Wells Fargo employees who are paid 80,000 a year or less.

We are grateful to our allies who fought to make sure our voices were part of the conversation. Clearly, we have more work to continue educating investors about why it is so important for Wells Fargo’s Board of Directors to adopt this Freedom of Association policy. As we continue organizing to grow our ranks, our power to hold Wells Fargo executives accountable and change their priorities to include OUR interests will also grow. 




Question of the Week:
 I like my manager. Will they get in trouble if we organize? 

Let’s be clear. Wells Fargo executives should stop blaming our branch managers for our union organizing. We know that the decisions affecting our work lives are made at the very top of the bank. Our branch managers experience many of the same stresses we do, especially the squeeze from understaffing. 

We fully recognize that many Wells Fargo employees have immediate supervisors that they like and have a good relationship with. This is really the goal- to have a collaborative relationship with management that is rooted in respect, and a way to hold those who create toxic work environments accountable. There is nothing inherent to organizing that should create animosity between employees and management, unless management chooses to make it that way.

Unfortunately, we know Wells Fargo is putting low level managers in an awkward position by ramping up pressure on them to try and tamp down organizing efforts. If you work in a branch, you may have noticed that recently Wells Fargo has started using morning huddles to deliver anti-union messages and propaganda about once a week. Before the huddle, branch managers are instructed to review the new microsite, “Stronger as One Team”, and then read from a script about “the benefits you already enjoy working directly with Wells Fargo without a union.” Here’s a copy of one of the anti-union Huddle guides.

Most branch managers already have enough work on their plates and do not want to do this. We recognize it is a bad position to be in. But it is important to remember that we are not the ones choosing to create tension. Wells Fargo’s choice about how to respond to employees exercising our right to organize shows where their priorities lie and what kind of unhealthy workplace culture they are desperate to preserve.

Remember a rising tide lifts all boats. Something else to keep in mind is that many low level managers will actually benefit from worker organizing. Even though they are not covered as members of the bargaining unit, it is common for companies to choose to extend improvements to pay and benefits won by union members in negotiations to the lower level managers as well. Afterall, no one would want to be a manager if they got paid less or worse benefits than the people they manage. Though in the short term, managers may face intense pressure from those above them leading up to an election, that pressure largely goes away after a contract is negotiated.