This week, a majority of bank workers at Beneficial State Bank chose to join CWA, becoming the first U.S. bank workers in decades to win union rights. The bargaining unit of 113 includes bankers, consumer loan servicing representatives, loan processors, underwriters, file clerks, and custodial staff.
The financial services industry, which is plagued by systemic problems of discrimination, low wages, extreme sales goals, and whistleblower retaliation, has the country's lowest percentage of union representation. While union membership in the financial sector is the norm in other countries, with over 3 million bank workers who have union representation globally, in the United States almost no bank workers are represented by a union. No private bank employees have successfully formed a union in over 40 years.
"After nearly two decades at big banks, I was proud to join Beneficial State Bank because of its commitment to invest in its communities," said Desiree Jackson, an Assistant Vice President in Oakland, Calif., and member of the Committee for Better Banks, a CWA project to demand better labor standards and consumer protections in the banking industry. "With this historic move to form a union, we're seeing that commitment to community in action – and I'm proud to be a part of it. All workers should have a voice on the job to advocate for themselves, their colleagues, and their customers. It's the right, and fair, thing to do."