Founded in 2007 with a focus on community development and social and environmental justice, the company has $1.5 billion in assets and 8 branches in California, Oregon, and Washington.
Roughly 100 beneficial workers ratified a contract with management in late September, after agreeing to unionize in March 2020. Labor organizers hope the agreement will set an example for customer-facing workers in the financial sector more broadly, who have been vocal in recent years about issues like wage inequality, racial bias, and the kinds of high-pressure sales goals that led to the Wells Fargo fake account scandal. No doubt a union push will be a challenge at US banks, where fewer than 1% of workers are unionized. But Beneficial’s amicable unionizing experience points to a new way of thinking about organizing—one that may resonate with both workers and employers well beyond the financial sector.