A Look at the Unionization Efforts at Two Small Financial Institutions
Unions are rare in financial services, but there are exceptions, including Amalgamated Bank in New York, which was founded by a labor union in 1923. The $870 million-asset Bank of Labor in Kansas City, Kansas, was founded by a labor union in 1924 and has been affiliated with the United Mine Workers of America since August 2011. A more recent example is Beneficial State Bank in Oakland, California, where employees voted to form a union in March 2020 after CWA representatives approached the $1.5 billion-asset bank’s executives about the possibility of forming a labor organization for staff. The bank agreed upon a finalized contract last September. “I think the biggest thing was that people [were] not being listened to and our experiences not taken into account on how to be treated,” said Michelle Hunt, a relationship banker at Beneficial. After signing, the bank instituted changes in its minimum wage, training, retirement programs and more. It also created a labor-management committee to give union members a forum for voicing concerns and suggesting changes.