The Human Cost: Bank of America’s $23-an-hour minimum pay is now the highest among big banks. But workers want more — and so do union organizers.

by | Sep 29, 2023 | Stock Market

Juan Sanchez, a 45-year-old who just welcomed a new daughter, feels lucky to have paid parental leave through his job at a Wells Fargo call center in Lubbock, Texas. But with two other daughters and a nephew to care for, his $22.70-an-hour paycheck isn’t enough to cover his family’s expenses. He works two side gigs to fill in the financial gaps. Sanchez says he and his coworkers deserve more, and he’s been actively involved in trying to unionize the bank’s call-center employees for the past four years. 

Sanchez is hoping that Bank of America’s recent move to increase its minimum pay to $23 an hour is a good sign for workers like him at rival banks. Wells Fargo
has previously raised its minimum pay after competitors did so, including increasing minimum hourly pay from $18 to $22 in 2021.  “They are trying to be competitive, but even those raises are just not livable,” Sanchez said.  Bank of America’s
pay increase comes at a crucial time for both banks and their workers. Banks are struggling to hire and retain younger workers. Turnover is high for lower-paid roles. And like companies in many other sectors, banks have also started to feel more pressure from workers who are organizing. The Communications Workers of America union successfully organized employees at a small California bank in 2022, and is now organizing Wells Fargo bank workers. Employees like Sanchez are pushing for higher wages and want more leverage to address on-the-job stress.Why Bank of America and other big banks are raising wages When the Bank of America pay increase goes into effect in October, the bank’s minimum hourly wage will be the highest among the country’s largest banks. “Providing a competitive minimum rate of pay is foundational to being a great place to work,” Sheri Bronstein, the chief human-resources officer at Bank of America, said in a stateme …

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