Wells Fargo branch workers in California vote against union

By Nupur Anand

(Reuters) – Wells Fargo employees at a small bank branch in Atwater, California, voted against forming a union on Thursday, making it the first Wells site to reject burgeoning unionization efforts, the Committee for Better Bankers said in a statement.

The vote was three-to-one against joining the Communications Workers of America’s Wells Fargo Workers United (WFWU), according to a source familiar with the vote, who declined to be identified discussing personnel matters.

The vote in California follows a decision by employees of a branch in Bethel, Alaska, to withdraw from unionization efforts last month, while workers at two other Wells branches — in Daytona, Florida, and Albuquerque, New Mexico — have voted to join the union.

Wells Fargo has become one of the first major U.S. lender to have a unionized workforce.

One employee at the Atwater branch alleged that the bank put pressure on workers before the confidential vote.

“We will not back down until every worker at Wells Fargo is treated with the respect and dignity on the job we deserve,” Salvador Sotelo Jr., an associate banker at Wells Fargo’s Atwater branch, said in a statement on Thursday.

Another employee, however, said Wells did not pressure workers.

“We did not feel that there was any undue pressure from the management to influence the election. We all did our own research and voted on the basis of that,” said Jessica Grajeda Burgos, an Atwater branch employee who was among members who had initially filed the petition to form a union.

Wells Fargo said in a statement that its “Atwater branch employees made their voices heard by voting in a fair election that the union is challenging because the outcome is not what they wanted.

“We appreciate our employees for carefully considering this decision and continue to believe that they are best served by working directly with the Company.”

(Reporting by Nupur Anand in New York; Editing by Lananh Nguyen and Leslie Adler)