From the Communication Workers of America:
On Feb. 21, Santander workers, customers and community members to call on company to end deceptive banking and respect workers’ union rights
In South America and Europe, thousands of Santander workers in eight countries plan protests to support US workers & customers
NATIONWIDE— As bank workers in the Committee for Better Banks speak out in greater numbers than ever before for better working conditions and a new report details racial and economic disparities throughout Santander’s mortgage lending operations, frontline tellers and collections and loans workers at Santander announced they are joining together to fight for a voice on the job and an end to unethical and discriminatory practices at the global banking giant.
On Tuesday, February 21, Santander workers, customers and consumer advocates in Dallas and Boston will deliver letters demanding Santander executives respect their right to form a union and treat American workers and customers with the same standards as it treats those abroad. At the same time, thousands of Santander workers in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Germany will hold protests in support of their American co-workers.
“Our neighbors and communities trust us to help them – whether it’s with a loan or saving for their kid’s college tuition – but Santander executives choose to put us in an impossible position between providing for our families and doing what’s best for our customers,” said Peggy Spencer, a Santander Consumer worker and Committee for Better Banks member in the Dallas area.“In Brazil, our co-workers have protections when they speak up against predatory practices that harm the customers or unfair treatment on the job, but that option isn’t available to us. Santander can’t be trusted to do what’s right for us or for our communities. Today, we’re taking our first major step to winning a voice a job, improving working conditions and putting an end to discriminatory, deceptive practices that are holding back thousands of families.”
Santander is one of the world’s largest banks with more than $555 million in profits each month from a growing fleet of banks in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New England, and its subsidiary Santander Consumer USA is the country’s largest subprime auto lender, bringing in $4 billion in the last four years.
But even as Santander’s profits grow, the bank faces growing scrutiny of its risky and unethical business practices. A new report by the Committee for Better Banks finds that Santander’s home mortgage lending discriminates against thousands of low-income borrowers and borrowers of color in cities throughout the Northeast, including denying more than 26% borrowers of color a mortgage loan.
Santander is the only bank in America to fail the Federal Reserve stress test three years in a row, raising concerns from members of Congress and regulators about its ability to serve its more than 2 million US customers. In just the last couple of years, Santander has been fined more than $1 billion for deceptive practices from illegal overdrafts and overcharging black and Latino customers to illegally repossessing cars owned by members of the U.S. armed services serving oversees. At the same time, the bank has profited off the Puerto Rican debt crisis by underwriting more than $60 billion of the island’s $70 billion in debt—essentially making billions from a crisis they helped engineer.
In several countries in Europe and South America, more than 150,000 Santander workers have been able to join unions and work with bank management to improve both their jobs and customer service. In Brazil, workers are partnering with management to promote customer service and ethical sales and to prevent predatory practices that force workers to push unnecessary products on their customers. In Europe, Santander jobs are stable, middle-class jobs that allow workers to care for their families.
“Workers in the Committee for Better Banks have won major improvements at JP Morgan, Bank of America and Wells Fargo in just the past few months – today, they’re setting their sights on Santander, which is trying to grow its U.S. business by taking advantage of working families across the country,” said Teresa Casertano with the Communications Workers of America. “Frontline bank workers from Dallas to Boston are uniting and saying enough is enough. Together with their customers and communities, Santander workers are calling on the bank to respect their union rights and hold its executives accountable for recklessly endangering our communities and our economic security.”
On Tuesday, February 21, 2017, Santander workers in Boston and Dallas will deliver petitions demanding Santander executives respect their right to form a union. Around the world, thousands of Santander workers in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Montevideo, Uruguay; Santiago, Chile; Roma, Italy; Madrid, Spain; and other cities throughout Europe will rally at bank headquarters this week tosupport their American colleagues’ efforts to win better jobs and trustworthy banking for all customers.
Read more Communication Workers of America.