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Workers at Wells Fargo location in New Mexico vote to unionize

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December 21, 2023
By The Associated Press

A Wells Fargo Bank branch on 3rd avenue in Manhattan. Photo: WDStock/Getty Images
By Michelle Chapman

Employees at a Wells Fargo bank in New Mexico have voted to unionize, the first time that workers at a major U.S. bank have attempted to organize in the modern era.

The vote comes after a series of extraordinary gains for unions in the U.S., with organized labor sealing huge contracts in industries that have historically had strong labor representation, and inroads in those that have not.

Bankers and tellers at the Wells Fargo branch in Albuquerque, New Mexico will join the Communications Workers of America’s Wells Fargo Workers United, the Committee for Better Banks said in a prepared statement Wednesday.

And employees at other bank locations like Daytona Beach, Florida, have already filed for a vote to unionize with the National Labor Relations Board, according to the committee, which is made up of current and former employees of banks including Wells Fargo, US Bank, Santander, Bank of The West, and Bank of America.


The workers say they are understaffed, underpaid, and mismanaged.

“This stands as a testament to workers in the financial services industry who know we need a collective voice to improve the industry we are integral to,” said Sabrina Perez, a banker at the Wells Fargo branch in Albuquerque that just voted to unionize.

The bank employees join others in a push to unionize in places that have not had a strong presence of organized labor.

Workers at more than 200 U.S. Starbucks locations walked off the job last month in what organizers said was the largest strike yet in the 2-year-old effort to unionize the company’s stores.

Starbucks, which opposes the union effort, has also tried to shift the conversation on that issue. Earlier this month, the company announced it was committed to bargaining with its unionized workers and reaching labor agreements next year.

Workers at a small number of Apple stores are seeking to organize and there are nascent attempts to introduce unions at Amazon warehouses.

In places where unions have a strong history, it was a huge year.

In August, UPS workers voted to approve a five-year contract putting a final seal on contentious labor negotiations that threatened to disrupt package deliveries for millions of businesses and households nationwide. And workers at automakers General Motors, Ford and Stellantis agreed to terms in October that ended six weeks of targeted strikes.

The UAW and the Teamsters have vowed to seize on that momentum and broaden their base, pushing organized labor into factories that have not unionized and into sectors that have not traditionally been represented by unions.

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