Global Day of Action ramps up pressure on U.S. banks
UNI Finance, the Committee for Better Banks and Communication Workers America held a global day of action on February 18th, campaigning together for better working conditions for U.S. bank workers.
UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings previously sent a letter to Citibank CEO Michael Corbat calling on the bank to lead the change in the industry by meeting with the trade union movement.
An international delegation of workers from around the world protested at Citibank HQ on Wall Street to denounce the silence of Citibank and the inequalities and injustices faced by America’s finance workers.
Christy Hoffman, Deputy General Secretary for UNI Global Union said that this day of action was a new milestone for the long-term US Bank campaign. “Workers in the United States face incredible opposition when they try to build a union. This kind of innovative solidarity delivers the message to US workers that they are not alone. It shows them how the workers in the rest of the world have made progress through a collective voice.”
Jonathan Westin, Executive Director of New York Communities for Change who joined the rally said “The banks got bailed out and we got sold out.”
Carlos Alberto Cordeiro Da Silva, President of UNI Finance Americas and Contraf-Cut in Brazil, Francis Assenga (TUICO Tanzania) and Catherine Jinkunan (SBEU) expressed their solidarity with US workers and gave examples of the rights and benefits that workers enjoy in their country. In Brazil, workers have been able to increase their salary by 37.8% above inflation since 2004 and women enjoy 180 days of paid maternity leave.
A new report coordinated by UNI Finance together with CBB and CWA showed that despite the fact that New York was the world capital of finance, US Bank workers were treated worse than in many other countries around the world.
The campaign, which partnered a march on Wall Street with a global social media push, achieved a reach of around one million people online. Around 2,000 people tweeted, commented or shared photos and articles whilst traffic to UNI’s website doubled over the course of the day.
Head of UNI Finance Marcio Monzane and UNI Finance Policy Coordinator Elise Buckle who organised the event sent their thanks to UNI Finance affiliates and supporters who joined the action worldwide. Among those that sent their support were the UK’s largest union UNITE as well as UNI affiliates from Ireland, Netherlands, Malta, Brazil, Argentina, Sweden, Australia and Tunisia. The New York based movement Occupy Wall Street tweeted in support of the campaign.
US Bank workers are being deprived of basic fundamental rights, such as the right to organize and collectively bargain for a fair pay, paid paternity leave or paid sick leave. In terms of social rights, the grass is greener in other so-called “developing countries” such as Tanzania, Lebanon, the Philippines or Malaysia. Moreover, bank workers who are working for exactly the same bank, for example Citibank, Santander, Banco do Brazil or BBVA enjoy better working conditions outside the US, because they have a voice at the work place, through their union.
See the report on the campaign page:
Join the campaign and send a message to the CEO of Citibank:
See media coverage in NY dailynews: