Group Calls on US Bank and Wells Fargo to Pay Workers $15 Minimum Wage

Workers throughout Minneapolis are mobilizing for a $15/hour minimum wage. Our report found that US Bank pays many of its workers poverty wages, far below a living wage of $15/hour. This report kicks off a campaign on behalf of low-wage workers backed by the Minneapolis Works coalition.

Minneapolis, MN – On Monday, September 28, the community group 15 Now Minnesota called on US Bank and Wells Fargo to raise the wages of their employees to at least $15/hour and to ensure that its subcontractors do the same with their workers. 15 Now and several other organizations released a report about the banking industry which found that:

  • the average wage for a bank teller at Wells Fargo is $11.81. At US Bank it is even lower, $11.60, so even if they work forty hours a week, they will still be below the poverty line.
  • the result of this low pay is that almost a third (31%) of bank tellers nationally must rely on public assistance for themselves or their families to get by.

“The CEOs of US Bank and Wells Fargo were each paid around $20 million last year. That means they got paid more in 3 hours than some of their workers were paid for the whole year,” said Kip Hedges  from 15 Now.  “The fact that these extremely wealthy banks pay their workers poverty wages is why we are working to get Minneapolis and other cities across the metro region to raise their minimum wage to $15.”

The organizations that released the report are part of the Minneapolis Works campaign to raise standards for working families in the city of Minneapolis by ensuring earned sick times and a fair work week, putting an end to wage theft, and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

In addition to the banks’ direct employees, the report highlighted the situation of more than 500 janitors and security officers hired by subcontractors to work at US Bank and Wells Fargo’s Twin Cities offices, operations centers, and branches.  According to the report, these workers are paid as little as $12.15/hour. They have a maximum of three paid sick days available to them, after they have been on the job for at least five years.

“US Bank and Wells Fargo should ensure that all of its employees and the employees hired by its subcontractors are paid a living wage and earn enough paid time off to care for themselves or their families when they are sick,” said Greg Nammacher, Secretary-Treasurer of  SEIU Local 26, which represents the janitors and security officers who clean and protect the banks’ offices and branches in the Twin Cities.  

The report also documents that there is a two-tiered labor force in the banking industry with white employees dominating management and higher-paying jobs, while people of color are stuck at lower-paying positions.

  • People of color make up 33% of the tellers, clerical, sales and service jobs at US Bank nationally but just 7.5% of the executive and senior manager positions.
  • African-Americans and Latinos each make up twelve percent of tellers, clerical, sales, and service jobs at US Bank nationally, but less than two percent of the executive and senior managers.

“Wells Fargo and US Bank’s predatory lending practices have played a huge role in stripping wealth from communities of color in the Twin Cities,” said Ruby Brown, board co-chair of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, who successfully fought her home’s predatory foreclosure in 2012. “It’s unacceptable that these same banks are paying so many of their employees of color poverty wages without providing basic protections like earned sick time. These are exactly the sorts of practices that lead to our worst-in-the-nation racial disparities. It’s time for Wells Fargo and US Bank to take a stance against these racial disparities and get out of the way of progress for communities of color.”

This is the first in a series of reports titled “Inside the Vault: Exposing how US Bank and Wells Fargo Harm Minnesota Communities,” that will examine the different areas in which US Bank and Wells Fargo negatively impact Minnesota, including education, economy, electoral politics, consumer lending, and the environment. Hundreds of workers will rally at the U.S. Bank branch at 2338 Central Ave NE in Minneapolis at noon on October 10.

The reports are being released by a coalition of groups that includes 15 Now Minnesota, Centro de Trabajadores Unidos en la Lucha (CTUL),  Communication Workers of America, ISAIAH, MN 350, Minnesotans for a Fair Economy, Neighborhoods Organizing for Change (NOC), Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26, and St. Paul Federation of Teachers.

Report, Non-Sufficient Funds PDF
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