News website .Mic broke the story this weekend that front-line bank workers organizing with the Committee for Better Banks are petitioning Santander for their right to form a union without interference from management. Even though bank worker unions are the norm in other countries around the world (and the US is the only country where Santander workers aren’t unionized), when Santander workers present their petition to management on Tuesday, they will be the first workers at a major US bank to try to unionize.
Jack Smith writes:
“The U.S. bank workers have three demands. The first is greater wages and greater share of the profits, and the second is stable, full-time jobs. Crisp uniforms and polished storefronts aside, bank tellers are solidly low-wage employees — and wages have only taken a downturn over the past decade; as of May 2015, the median annual wage for a bank teller was $26,410.
The third demand isn’t just about protecting workers or shoring up their jobs — it’s about stopping predatory banking practices that pit bank workers against their own communities.”
This third demand is especially important here in New England, as evidenced by a recent report documents Santander’s discriminatory lending practices, which have had a particularly damaging impact in Massachusetts. Worker input could help to change those practices, as it did in the case of Wells Fargo last year.
Want to join us in demanding a voice for working people in the finacancial industry? You can stand with bank workers and community advocates on Tuesday, February 21, at a rally and march to hold big banks accountable to our communities and the members of our communities who work for them — we’ll be visiting Santander Headquarters to deliver workers’ demands. If you can’t make it to the action, there are still plenty of ways to show your solidarity! Email Tarshia@massjwj.net for more information.