Sunday, November 25, 2007

Western Union rises from bankruptcy by catering to immigrants

Western Union was the first U.S. telegraph giant, but airmail and faxes left telegrams obsolete, and the company entered bankruptcy in 1992. Just 15 years later, the company now earns nearly $1 billion a year by catering its services to the needs of immigrants, legal and illegal.

Western Union executives once tried to oust Congressman Tom Tancredo because of his push for tougher immigration laws. Tancredo, now running for president, says “Western Union wants to encourage illegal immigration in order to expand the number of people in its market,” adding “Believe me, if I were president, I would ask the Justice Department to look into it.”

The company says it does not know what share of its customers are illegal immigrants, but when an overflowing federal detention center in Texas bused detainees to a homeless shelter, the company sponsored a lunch there, dispensing T-shirts, bandannas and fliers in Spanish with the company’s toll-free telephone number. Studies of money transfer services show that at least 40 percent of customers are Hispanics living in the U.S. illegally.

Western Union made substantial donations to groups seeking last spring’s failed effort for “comprehensive” immigration reform, which would have offered amnesty to illegals. Mark Krikorian, director of the Center for Immigration Studies, says “Western Union has decided that its business model depends on a continuing flow of illegal immigrants.”


  1. Letter forwarded to anyone who will listen......

    I am a member of CWA Local 6377 located in Bridgeton , Missouri . I am part of the first 100 being laid off due to outsourcing. Western Union is basically trying to break the Union and stop paying Union benefits and wages. Our jobs are being sent to Canada , Philippines , Costa Rica and Mexico . The shop will be closing around the end of June. ALL Union shops including Dallas , TX and St. Charles , MO are closing.

    It is a known fact that money funding 9/11 was sent through Western Union . Once 9/11 took place, WU did voluntarily comply with US Regulations and became much stricter on their policies regarding money transfers. Our department (Compliance - Gov't Sanctions) stops, investigates and questions transfers relating to terrorism, drug and human trafficking, etc. We are very well trained, skilled workers and can spot a transfer for illegal border crossing a mile away. However, WU is now allowing them to go through without interdiction. Their policies since late 2007 have become very, very lax on transfers regarding border crossing and possible terrorism and everyone – including Mohammad and Javier know it – that is why they use Western Union !

    How can the US Government allow outsourcing of OFAC to these countries? What stake do these countries have in US safety?

    Can you possibly investigate Western Union ’s unethical practices? WU actually goes to the border, hands out Frisbees, hats, key chains, etc. AND sets up shop to show the newly arriving illegals how to send transfers through Western Union .

    Please help STOP this madness! On behalf of the hard working, tax paying AMERICANS losing our jobs to outsourcing...thanks for all you do!

  2. The previous comment was right on the money. I worked at Western Union's Bridgeton MO call center. I was laid off this March. I worked in the fraud department. Not only was the Compliance department asked to let questionable transfers go through, my department was just as bad. Our job was to stop customers from falling victim to various scams. Several countries were fraud hotbeds. It was later decided, by corporate, to take very risky countries off of our fraud list. Canada and Mexico were at the top. Guess what? Western Union moved the fraud department's jobs to a Canadian call center. Many of the fraudulent transfers were picked up in the very same city that the Canadian call center is located. Hmm...maybe that will make it easier for some inside jobs. Western Union does not refund principal or charges on paid transfers. That means that the company does profit off of fraud and illegal activities. Don't get me started on Mexico. Western Union is a huge enabler in the whole illegal immigration issue. Do you know how many angry Hispanics called demanding to know why their transfer was paid out, but their relative did not get across the border? They are so brazen, calling in to complain that their illegal activity didn't pan out. What other country allows this nonsense? What other company enocourages illegal activity in order to make profit? Western Union rewards Mexico by moving a bulk of our jobs there. The Mexico City call center had already screwed up earlier this year. The Mexican operators were stealing customer's credit card information. What did the company do? Not much obviously, because shortly afterward the first set of layoffs was announced. Let me end this by saying I'm as mad as hell. Some of my co-workers made the company what it is today. There are several employees that have been there 30+ years. My own parents are two of them. May Western Union go bankrupt, and may the CEO and her board of directors get what's coming to them. This "difficult business decision" is about more than money. This is ruining lives, all in the name of the almighty dollar.

  3. I also worked for Western Union in Bridgeton Mo. The stress level was high but yet President Christina Gold put an abrupt end to paying fair wages. The call center outsourced due to illegal activity, illegal money transfers sent and received by scam artist and etc. There was a tremendous cover up and our union couldn't win a fight against corruption. TWT


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