16. PEACE, JUSTICE AND STRONG INSTITUTIONS

Wells Fargo workers in Daytona Beach vote to unionize, becoming second unionized branch in the country

Written by Amanda
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photo by Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock” class=”uk-display-block uk-position-relative uk-visible-toggle”> click to enlarge Wells Fargo workers in Daytona Beach vote to unionize, becoming second unionized branch in the country

photo by Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

Wells Fargo workers at a branch in Daytona Beach, in a show of growing momentum for a national campaign to organize bank workers, voted to unionize Thursday, becoming the second unionized Wells Fargo branch in the country.

In a 4-1 vote, the workers have opted to join Wells Fargo Workers United, a union affiliated with the Communications Workers of America, which represents over half a million private and public sector workers in the United States. Wells Fargo is the only major U.S. bank that, as of last month, has branches staffed by a unionized workforce.

“We’re incredibly proud to be the second branch of Wells Fargo workers to form a union and take this much-needed step to make the bank better for all of us,” said Corinne Jefferson, a personal banker at the Wells Fargo Daytona Beach branch.

Jefferson told Orlando Weekly last month that her branch was looking to organize for better staffing levels, and better health and retirement benefits. Pay has also been on their minds, with Florida’s higher cost of living making it difficult for some of her co-workers over the years just to get by.

The banking industry has historically been hostile to unions, but a new campaign — the Committee for Better Banks — is trying to change that (even if the banks resist). Formed in 2021, bank workers with the coalition say they’re organizing not just to improve working conditions for themselves, but for the good of the customers.

And despite alleged union-busting tactics — such as posting anti-union flyers in the workplace and illegally removing employees’ pro-union literature from non-work areas — the movement is growing. Last month, Wells Fargo workers at a branch in Albuquerque, New Mexico, similarly voted to unionize, becoming the first unionized Wells Fargo branch in the country. A Wells Fargo branch in California will be voting on whether to unionize next week, while workers at a branch in Delaware will have their own vote next month.

Under federal law, employers can voluntarily recognize a union when workers have shown they have a majority of support for unionization. But Wells Fargo has opted not to go that route. In lieu of voluntary recognition, the National Labor Relations Board can set a date for a union election, provided the union submits signed cards in support of unionization from at least 30% of workers.

A spokesperson for Wells Fargo told Orlando Weekly in a statement that they respect
their employees’ right to vote for union representation. “At the same
time, we continue to believe our employees are best served by working
directly with the Company and its leadership.”

Jefferson, the personal banker at the Daytona Beach branch — who grew up in a family of union members herself, up north — said her union is ready for what comes next.

“Now with a true seat at the table, we look forward to negotiating improvements to staffing, workloads, pay inequities and many other issues,” said Jefferson.

While just a tiny sliver of Wells Fargo’s workforce is now unionized, the victory represents a major win in a state that is generally not considered fertile ground for unionization, due to anti-union laws and policies. Jefferson moved down to Florida from New Jersey several years ago, where she worked for Wells Fargo, and in casinos before that — a union job.

“At first it’s a scary thing, to stick up for yourself when you see something is wrong,” she told Orlando Weekly last month. But with the proper tools and resources, she knows it’s possible to make real change. “We want better, we deserve better,” said Jefferson last month.

“I hear that there’s more branches across the nation that are getting ready to sign, which is very exciting,” she told us then. “One by one, you know, we can get this done.”

This story has been updated to add a statement from Wells Fargo.

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Source: orlandoweekly.com

click to enlarge Wells Fargo workers in Daytona Beach vote to unionize, becoming second unionized branch in the country

photo by Kristi Blokhin/Shutterstock

Wells Fargo workers at a branch in Daytona Beach, in a show of growing momentum for a national campaign to organize bank workers, voted to unionize Thursday, becoming the second unionized Wells Fargo branch in the country.

In a 4-1 vote, the workers have opted to join Wells Fargo Workers United, a union affiliated with the Communications Workers of America, which represents over half a million private and public sector workers in the United States. Wells Fargo is the only major U.S. bank that, as of last month, has branches staffed by a unionized workforce.

“We’re incredibly proud to be the second branch of Wells Fargo workers to form a union and take this much-needed step to make the bank better for all of us,” said Corinne Jefferson, a personal banker at the Wells Fargo Daytona Beach branch.

Jefferson told Orlando Weekly last month that her branch was looking to organize for better staffing levels, and better health and retirement benefits. Pay has also been on their minds, with Florida’s higher cost of living making it difficult for some of her co-workers over the years just to get by.

The banking industry has historically been hostile to unions, but a new campaign — the Committee for Better Banks — is trying to change that (even if the banks resist). Formed in 2021, bank workers with the coalition say they’re organizing not just to improve working conditions for themselves, but for the good of the customers.

And despite alleged union-busting tactics — such as posting anti-union flyers in the workplace and illegally removing employees’ pro-union literature from non-work areas — the movement is growing. Last month, Wells Fargo workers at a branch in Albuquerque, New Mexico, similarly voted to unionize, becoming the first unionized Wells Fargo branch in the country. A Wells Fargo branch in California will be voting on whether to unionize next week, while workers at a branch in Delaware will have their own vote next month.

Under federal law, employers can voluntarily recognize a union when workers have shown they have a majority of support for unionization. But Wells Fargo has opted not to go that route. In lieu of voluntary recognition, the National Labor Relations Board can set a date for a union election, provided the union submits signed cards in support of unionization from at least 30% of workers.

A spokesperson for Wells Fargo told Orlando Weekly in a statement that they respect
their employees’ right to vote for union representation. “At the same
time, we continue to believe our employees are best served by working
directly with the Company and its leadership.”

Jefferson, the personal banker at the Daytona Beach branch — who grew up in a family of union members herself, up north — said her union is ready for what comes next.

“Now with a true seat at the table, we look forward to negotiating improvements to staffing, workloads, pay inequities and many other issues,” said Jefferson.

While just a tiny sliver of Wells Fargo’s workforce is now unionized, the victory represents a major win in a state that is generally not considered fertile ground for unionization, due to anti-union laws and policies. Jefferson moved down to Florida from New Jersey several years ago, where she worked for Wells Fargo, and in casinos before that — a union job.

“At first it’s a scary thing, to stick up for yourself when you see something is wrong,” she told Orlando Weekly last month. But with the proper tools and resources, she knows it’s possible to make real change. “We want better, we deserve better,” said Jefferson last month.

“I hear that there’s more branches across the nation that are getting ready to sign, which is very exciting,” she told us then. “One by one, you know, we can get this done.”

This story has been updated to add a statement from Wells Fargo.

Subscribe to Orlando Weekly newsletters.

Follow us: Apple News | Google News | NewsBreak | Reddit | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | or sign up for our RSS Feed

Source: orlandoweekly.com

About the author

Amanda

Hi there, I am Amanda and I work as an editor at impactinvesting.ai;  if you are interested in my services, please reach me at amanda.impactinvesting.ai

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