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Wells Fargo branch workers seek union in Wilmington

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Wells Fargo union Fairfax Wilmington bank

Workers at this Wells Fargo bank branch could become the first to unionize in Delaware under a new proposal. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

WILMINGTON – Workers at a Wells Fargo bank branch in the Wilmington suburbs have filed for a union election, which would make the handful of workers the first in the state if the effort is successful.

Bankers and tellers at the Fairfax branch off U.S. Route 202 filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board on Jan. 3, seeking to join the Communications Workers of America’s Wells Fargo Workers United (WFWU). They also sent a letter to Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf and management, expressing concerns with understaffing, a lack of compensation and the importance of having a collective voice.

The move comes weeks after Wells Fargo branch workers voted to form a union in Albuquerque, N.M., becoming the first workers to unionize at a major U.S. bank. Wells Fargo is the fourth largest bank in the country per deposits.

“Wells Fargo workers’ historic union vote in Albuquerque created a ripple effect of worker solidarity nationwide, and we are excited to join them, becoming the first Wells Fargo workers in Delaware to petition for a seat at the table at one of largest banks in the country. With a union, we will have the power to negotiate fair working conditions that allow us to better serve our customers and our communities,” Scott Keehn, senior premier banker at the Fairfax branch, said in a statement.

In a statement, Wells Fargo said it “respected our employees’ rights to vote for union representation,” but also didn’t think it served in their best interest.

“We continue to believe our employees are best served by working directly with the company and its leadership,” the bank said.

The fight over unionization at Wells Fargo, which also includes two other branches in Florida and California, is growing more contentious. The WFWU has argued that Wells Fargo has disseminated anti-union materials and brought union-busting representatives to branches facing a vote. Wells Fargo call center workers in Oregon and Utah have also filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the NLRB after bank leaders reportedly tore down posters regarding the right to organize. More than over 1,000 workers have now signed a WFWU support pledge in recent weeks.

Wells Fargo workers along with the Committee for Better Banks, an advocacy group for frontline bank employees, helped to ring the bell on the 2016 scandal over fraudulent customer account creation that led to a $3 billion settlement by Wells Fargo with the government.

“Like so many of their colleagues nationwide, Wells Fargo workers at the Fairfax branch in Delaware are stressed out and tired of their concerns being ignored and given lip service. By moving forward with a union election, they’re telling Wells Fargo that they’ve had enough, and it’s time they have a seat at the table,” Committee for Better Banks Organizing Director Nick Weiner said in a statement. “This election filing marks another critical moment for the WFWU campaign and is proof that Wells Fargo workers’ historic organizing momentum is just getting started. We’re incredibly proud of the Delaware-based Wells Fargo workers for standing up for each other, their families and their customers and continuing to drive change from the bottom-up at one of the country’s most scandal-ridden banks.”

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