First and Foremost, the Wells Fargo Scandal Is About Workers

When U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez pledged last week to conduct a “top-to-bottom” probe into allegations that Wells Fargo’s aggressive sales quotas created a culture that led to rampant labor law violations, he underscored the fact that at the root of the scandal is a whole sector of exploited workers who not only often make paltry wages and rely on public assistance, but also say they were forced to work late, without overtime pay, to meet impossible sales goals, or were fired or demoted for refusing to open fake accounts to meet those goals.

Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf has tried to scapegoat his bank’s low-level employees and tellers, contending that the problem was limited to 5,300 workers who allegedly opened fraudulent accounts to get sales incentives, and were promptly fired once discovered, and that he had no knowledge of the rampant fraud.

“You squeezed your employees to the breaking point so they would cheat customers and you could drive up the value of your stock and put hundreds of millions of dollars in your own pocket,” Senator Elizabeth Warren said during her now-viral grilling of the CEO at a congressional hearing.

Read more at The American Prospect.