Oct 24, 2013
CWA and its allies are building a movement in one of St. Louis's hottest sectors: the financial services industry.
This month, CWA Locals 6300, 6350 and 6355; Missouri Jobs with Justice; and Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment, a nonprofit social justice organization, banded together to begin reaching out to finance workers in the St. Louis area. Targeting Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Pulaski Bank and Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority, 20 activists flyered and circulated petitions in support of the "Press One for America" campaign.
"We plan to be active two days a week. It's not a one and done situation. Building a movement takes time – consistent effort and consistent determination," said CWA Local 6300 Vice President Jeff Spraul.
The financial services industry in St. Louis is booming. Employment grew 85 percent between January 2007 and September 2012, according to Moody's Analytics. In fact, St. Louis beat out Washington, DC, Phoenix, Dallas-Fort Worth and Bridgeport, Conn., as the metropolitan area that added the most financial sector jobs.
The response to the outreach was overwhelming. After hearing about the call center bill – legislation that stops companies that ship jobs overseas from receiving taxpayer cash and gives you the right to transfer to a U.S.-based operator – bank workers shared their own stories about St. Louis jobs moving offshore. They signed hundreds of petitions and asked activists to keep them informed about the bill through email and phone calls.
"We got nothing but positive reactions. It was very inspiring," Spraul said.
At Wells Fargo, employees happily stopped and talked to activists outside their building. At Citibank, workers came outside on their breaks specifically to ask questions; coincidentally, the company had announced that week that it intended on outsourcing 100 call center jobs in the complex.
"We actually had people coming out and looking for us!" said Spraul.
CWA District 6 Staff Representative Kara Hutchason and CWA District 6 Organizer Judy Graves were instrumental in the effort, working with the organizers all three days of flyering. CWA Local 6300 President Mike Mehringer and CWA District 6 Vice President Claude Cummings have also provided immense support and encouragement.