According to a Wells Fargo Powerpoint presentation obtained by Bloomberg News, Wells Fargo is not happy about the prospect of their workers unionizing. This article will tell you everything you need to know about this news.
Wells Fargo Powerpoint Presentation: Company is Worried About Unionization and ‘Activist’ New Generation
Wells Fargo leaders are concerned about a growing wave of union activity among its workers and other companies, according to an internal document obtained by Bloomberg News. The bank is one of the largest banks in the US, with about 193,000 employees. None of them are unionized, which could change soon.
The document, a PowerPoint presentation prepared by human resources staff, shows that Wells Fargo has seen “an increase in organizing activity” by employees working with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), a union that represents workers in telecommunications, media, and finance. The presentation also warns that “employers are facing a significant resurgence in union organizing with election petitions increasing by nearly 60% in 2022“.
What Is Driving the Union Resurgence?
The Wells Fargo Powerpoint presentation cites several factors that are fueling the union resurgence:
- Public approval of unions has increased.
- According to a Gallup poll, 71% of Americans approved of labor unions in 2022, the highest level since 1965.
- A new generation of employees with activist experience have been unionizing parts of major companies.
- The presentation mentions examples such as Amazon, Apple, and Starbucks, which have seen union gains in recent years, despite no prior history of unionization.
- The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the vulnerabilities and inequalities of workers in various sectors, especially those deemed essential or frontline.
- Many workers have demanded better pay, benefits, safety, and voice at work.
- The Biden administration has (occasionally) expressed strong support for workers’ rights and unions.
- President Biden has appointed pro-labor officials to key positions, such as Marty Walsh as Labor Secretary and Jennifer Abruzzo as National Labor Relations Board General Counsel. He has also endorsed the PRO Act, a bill that would make it easier for workers to form unions and harder for employers to interfere.
71% of Americans approved of labor unions in 2022, the highest level since 1965.
Wells Fargo’s Anti-Union Push
The PowerPoint presentation suggests that Wells Fargo is not happy about the prospect of having unionized workers. It states that “Wells Fargo believes our employees are best served by working directly with the company and its leadership – not a third-party group like a union – to address matters of concern” .
However, the bank also recognizes that it needs to address some of the “pain points” that can drive workers to seek union representation. A manager spoke to Bloomberg News on the condition of anonymity, as they couldn’t speak about this matter publicly.
According to this manager, Wells Fargo has estimated the additional cost that would result from having unionized workers. Then, they drafted plans to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on staffing improvements, as a way to avoid and discourage unionization.
“Wells Fargo believes our employees are best served by working directly with the company and its leadership – not a third-party group like a union – to address matters of concern”
The bank has also invested in several other things:
- Employee training and education
- Increased its minimum pay
- According to Reuters, in late 2021, the company increased its minimum wages to $18-$22, depending on location. At the time, the federal mimum wage was $7.25
- Health benefits
- Hired a Diverse Segments, Representation, and Inclusion leader who reports directly to its CEO
Will Wells Fargo’s Efforts be Enough?
It is unclear whether Wells Fargo’s efforts will be enough to dissuade its workers from joining a union. Some workers may still feel that they need a collective voice to advocate for their interests and protect their rights. They may also be inspired by the success stories of other unionized workers in similar industries.
The CWA, which has been organizing Wells Fargo workers since 2016, has said that it is not deterred by the bank’s anti-union stance. “We’re not going away,” said Nick Weiner, CWA’s director of organizing. “We’re going to keep talking to Wells Fargo workers about why they need a union.“
We’re not going away, we’re going to keep talking to Wells Fargo workers about why they need a union.