A group of local unions and their allies have launched a new campaign against U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, demanding that they pay a $15 minimum wage to tellers and the janitors who clean their offices, and work harder to move more minorities into management.
The group, backed by SEIU Local 26, the St. Paul Federation of Teachers, Minnesotans for a Fair Economy and Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, among others, issued the first of what they promise will be a series of reports under the title, "Inside the Vault: Exposing how US Bank and Wells Fargo Harm Minnesota Communities."
The first report, citing GlassDoor.com, says that Wells Fargo tellers earn only an average of $11.81 per hour and that U.S. Bank tellers earn only an average of $11.60 per hour. Both wages, the group contends, are below average for tellers nationally and force a significant percentage of bank tellers to rely on some form of public assistance to make ends meet.
The report identifies a disparity in the percentage of tellers who are people of color compared to the percentage of company leadership who are people of color, and it highlights the low wages of janitors and security guards who work for subcontractors hired by the banks.
The report and the promise of more to come are a direct attack on CEO Richard Davis of U.S. Bank and CEO John Stumpf of Wells Fargo, who each earned about $20 million in 2014 compensation and whose wages are highlighted in the report.
SEIU Local 26 and its president, Javier Morillo, have distinguished themselves as the most aggressive, persistent local critics of the banks. Davis, who enjoys mostly praise and admiration from the local business community, came under fire from Morillo during the financial crisis and during labor negotiations at the Minnesota Orchestra.
The new report includes an appeal to the banks to establish a minimum wage of $15 per hour, which part of a larger campaign at the city of Minneapolis and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Other organizations backing the new report about the banks include 15 Now Minnesota, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL), Communication Workers of America, ISAIAH and MN 350.
Wells Fargo employees are all paid well above federal minimums, said John Hobot, a spokesman for the company. About 40,000 people who work for the bank received a salary increase due to promotion last year and 60 percent of the bank’s noninterest expenses — about $30 billion in 2014 — are pay and benefits.
“More important, a third of our Twin Cities-area bank managers are people of color. That’s exciting for our business,” Hobot said. “Wells Fargo is proud of its record of being a great place to work for our team members, which includes market competitive compensation that combines base pay with a broad array of benefits and career-development opportunities.”
U.S. Bank spokesman Dana Ripley said: “U.S. Bank is proud to be one of the most attractive places to build a career in the Twin Cities and across the country. We offer fair and competitive wages in all of our markets, achievable advancement opportunities, affordable health care options, and comprehensive retirement benefits, including a 401(k) and pension plan.”