U.S. Santander workers demand a Union
On 26 March, around 60 U.S. banking workers from Boston, Dallas, L.A. and Minneaopolis gathered in Boston to participate in the banking "Boston Convening" organised by UNI affiliate CWA. UNI Finance Head of Department, Angelo Di Cristo, and Rita Berlofa, President of UNI Finance led an international delegation, which included colleagues from CC.OO Servicios, Spain.
The focus of the day was on "Political Education and Planning" which comprised sessions on: Building power through organizing, Building a bank worker sector-wide organization, getting union recognition, and fighting for improvements across the sector. The convention discussed the importance of employer neutrality and why it is needed, as well as the political climate in which the fight for workers rights is taking place.
International Bank Worker Union delegation
The Convening was followed the next day by a Santander action, in which the group took over the bank headquarters in downtown Boston. The protesters occupied the ground floor and members of the community, along with CWA Boston leaders, held placards demanding that the bank allow the workers to organise. Angelo Di Cristo said "This is a fight for dignity for the US workers in the finance sector, and for the right to have a union, which is one of the pillars of liberty and democracy. We fully support the U.S. workers in this struggle."
U.S. Santander workers are fighting for their first trade union, even though many of Santander's international branches in Europe and South America are already organised.
On February 21, Santander workers, customers and consumer advocates in Dallas and Boston delivered 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, Neutrality letters asking Santander to respect a fair election for union formation, were delivered by delegations of bank workers in the US, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Italy, Germany and Spain and were accompanied by strikes, rallies and marches.