An unusual coalition of unions, including the SEIU, the Communication Workers of America, and the Brazilian Bank Workers Union, has jumped on an opportunity to attempt to organize the financial industry. Sparking the move was the purchase of Sovereign Bank in Boston by Spain-based banking giant, Grupo Santander. Santander’s locations outside the United States are 75% unionized.
Although it may seem like an uphill battle, the union coalition is not without help in high places. According to a detailed article about the campaign,
Boston City Councilman Felix Arroyo, a former SEIU political director, is currently working on a resolution that would threaten to move tens of millions of Boston city government money out of Sovereign Bank if the company doesn’t agree to allow workers to hold a free and fair union election. The workers have even won the support of powerful Boston area congressman Barney Frank, who vowed in July of this year to use whatever power he can as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee to force banks to allow elections.
Brazilian trade unionist delegations have already made several trips to Boston to aid the effort. If Sovereign falls, it may start a toppling of the dominoes within the financial sector.