Wells Fargo worker gives testimony in Australia
Wells Fargo worker Kilian Collin was invited to speak by the Australian financial services workers union (FSU) about the danger of banks' sales goals and how US bank workers are coming together to end sales goals, not just at Wells Fargo but across the industry. He participated in the ACTU NextGen conference, the FSU parliamentary hearing on fair sales of financial products, and several other activities with FSU leaders and organizers. Kilian's work in Australia has also helped to elevate the situation of bank workers in the US. Kevin is a member of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) as well as the Committee for Better Banks (CBB), the coalition of bank workers, community and consumer advocacy groups, and labour organizations coming together to improve conditions in the American bank industry.
Addressing the Australian Senate inquiry into consumer protection in the banking, insurance and financial sector, Kilian talked of his time as a Wells Fargo personal banker and stated that the "unreasonable sales goals" that prioritised selling products rather than servicing customers drove him to depression and attempt suicide. He had to sell between 10 to 20 products per day and open new accounts "by all means necessary."
At ACTU's conference, he spoke about CBB's work to unite bank workers across the US to defeat sales goals. FSU national secretary Julia Angrisano said the number FSU members who are suffering from severe medical issues as a result of arbitrary sales targets has increased in the last 10 years, whereby sadly, some have contemplated suicide or have taken their own lives.There is "frightening parallel" to Wells Fargo in terms of the practices of many Australian banks, she said, adding the situation calls for greater whistleblower protection and compensation.
Upon his return to the US, Kilian has informed the Wells Fargo worker leaders from 15 states about the work he did in Australia. He also brought back tools and new ideas for organizing work. While Kilian was in Australia, Wells Fargo worker leaders met for the first time ever with Wells Fargo executives to discuss a platform of demands regarding ethical sales, fair wages and recognition of their organization as the representative of the members. This was a major first step in establishing dialogue with one of the "big five" US banks. Teresa Casertano, CWA Global Organizing Coordinator, extends her appreciation to UNI for encouraging the collaboration between CWA and FSU, as well as providing the support and resources to make it happen.