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OPEIU Local 39 ULP Strike Support

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Employees of CUNA Mutual Group (represented by OPEIU Local 39) overwhelmingly voted in favor of a strike due to unfair labor practices committed by the company.

After a year of contentious negotiations, workers at one of Madison’s largest private-sector employers, CUNA Mutual Group, said the company has stopped bargaining in good faith, adding new conditions to make meeting more difficult. Representatives for management and 450 union workers at CUNA Mutual— an insurance and investment firm that provides services to credit unions and their members — had been meeting by videoconference regularly through the end of 2022 to negotiate differences on wages, benefits, the use of contractors, and the company’s diversity practices. But the two sides haven’t met since Jan. 12, and the union filed a number of unfair labor practice charges in February and March with the National Labor Relations Board. Workers, who are represented by OPEIU Local 39, said the breakdown in talks happened when CUNA Mutual— which has embraced remote work and adopted a hybrid-first approach in its day-to-day operations — started asking union representatives to meet in person. The company also said union workers would no longer be paid for their time during daytime negotiations.

Workers say this left them with two bad options: forgo significant pay to participate in negotiations during their normal work hours, or meet outside of work hours, when members of the bargaining team who live outside the Madison area would have to commute to the city after a full day of remote work. Since the Jan. 12 meeting, CUNA Mutual has sent one counter-proposal to the union via email. The union says that without a meeting to discuss the document, the company's proposal is not a sincere attempt to negotiate.

Workers say the company’s wage proposal doesn’t reflect recent high inflation. They are also concerned about the high numbers of contractors who often perform work formerly done by union workers. The resolution passed by the city council notes that CUNA Mutual “has outsourced over 1,200 positions” in the last 20 years.”

At the same time, CUNA Mutual has asked for concessions on healthcare benefits and the pension plan.

Organizer and beneficiary

Bonnie Brusky
Madison, WI
OPEIU Madison Union

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