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Coalition to lead rally on Tuesday; banks say their pay and benefits are highly competitive

New York is the banking capital of the world - but that doesn't mean bank workers here have it better than their foreign peers.

When it comes to things like family leave, job security and paid sick leave, the grass is greener in places like Brazil, Lebanon and Tanzania, where bank workers are unionized, according to a report to be released on Tuesday by a left-leaning coalition called the Committee for Better Banks.

The group, whose members include the Alliance for a Greater New York and New York Communities for Change, are pressing for better working conditions for Big Apple bank employees.

The report will be the centerpiece of a rally to take place on Tuesday at 388 Greenwich St., the future global headquarters of Citigroup. A previous survey found that one in three bank tellers receive some form of public assistance.

"The report highlights the vastly different working conditions bank workers have in other countries compared with the U.S.," Brigid Flaherty, organizing director for the Alliance for a Greater New York, told the Daily News.

"There is no job security," Robert Freeman, a 38-year-old former teller and customer service trainer from Sunset Park, Brooklyn, told the News.

The report is based on conversations with 4,000 bank workers in New York City and on a survey of 22 countries conducted by global union UNI Global Finance.

Among the findings:

n On average, bank workers in the 22 countries surveyed have six months of paid parental leave vs. the U.S., where the average amount is three months.

n In Germany, bank workers get 72 weeks of paid sick leave at 100% pay; the average in New York is four weeks.

n In Nepal, a collective bargaining contract has helped reduce the number of jobs being outsourced, whereas New York has shed 19,800 financial services jobs since 2008.

Thomas Crosson, a spokesman for the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA) called the report "highly inaccurate" and said comparing the national labor laws of other countries with the U.S. is "an apples to oranges argument."

"The pay and benefits for bank tellers at CBA's member banks are highly competitive," Crosson added.


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