by Pam Martens and Russ Martens
Wall Street on Parade
On September 22, 2016 eight Senate Democrats, including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Jeff Merkley and Sherrod Brown, wrote to the Department of Labor requesting an investigation of the banking behemoth, Wells Fargo, to determine if it violated labor laws. The letter came amidst the public outcry over news that Wells Fargo’s employees had opened as many as 2 million customer accounts without authorization in order to meet stringent sales quotas for cross-selling products. The Senators wrote in the letter:
“…dozens of former and current Wells Fargo employees have come forward to describe the lengths they went to in order to meet the bank’s aggressive sales quotas. When quotas weren’t met, employees faced threats of termination; mandated hours of unpaid overtime; harassment; and other forms of retaliation. For years Wells Fargo employees have described a management culture characterized by ‘mental abuse,’ being forced to work overtime ‘for what felt like after-school detention’ during the week and on weekends, and being ‘severely chastised and embarrassed in front of 60-plus managers.’ ”
Unfortunately, the Senators demonstrate their naiveté about Wall Street’s longstanding and systemic abuse of its workers when they suggest that Wells Fargo has done something uniquely evil to its employees. The Senators write that “Wells Fargo stands out” because it denied overtime pay to its workers dating back as far as 1999.