MADISON, Wis. – CUNA Mutual and Office and Professional Employees Union Local 39, which represents 1,600 of CUNA Mutual’s employees, are disputing the rewarding of severance packages to displaced housekeeping/grounds employees. Last month CUNA Mutual said it was eliminating 22 housekeeping/grounds positions in order to save the company $1 million annually. Severance packages were one of the options for displaced employees. So far nine of the 22 employees have found other positions within the company, while 13 others have opted for the severance package. However, according to CUNA Mutual, it can not award the severance packages because of a waiver requirement in the collective bargaining agreement that must be signed by the company and the union. CUNA Mutual says because the union does not agree to that waiver agreement, it can not award the severance as dictated on page 79 of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA). However, the union says although it does not agree to the waiver agreement, the two parties referred to in the CBA are CUNA Mutual and the employee, so if an employee signs it the package should be awarded. CUNA Mutual disagrees. Spokesperson Sydney Lindner said CUNA Mutual has operated to the letter of the law on this issue, and hopes to continue to negotiate in good faith for a resolution. OPEIU Local 39 has filed a grievance with the National Labor Relations Board saying that CUNA Mutual did not bargain in good faith regarding the decision to lay off the 22 employees, nor did they bargain in good faith about the effects of the layoffs. OPEIU Local 39 Business Manager John Peterson said the union is not for the waiver because when an employee signs it they are waiving their rights to any rewards NLRB may give them stemming from OPEIU Local 39′s grievance. Still, Peterson said those who want to sign it should, and CUNA Mutual should pay the severance. “They don’t interpret the contract the same way we do. We have many issues now about the way they’ve implemented this layoff,” said Peterson. Peterson said the union is especially wary of giving in on the waiver agreement because it believes there is another service area where CUNA Mutual is looking to make layoffs. Peterson did not want the name of that area printed. Lindner said for the union to claim that it doesn’t have to agree to the waiver is incorrect. “Severance is directly tied to the union’s decision on the waiver. Their decision has resulted in this situation. Per the collective bargaining agreement, `as a condition to receiving any benefits under this Plan, an Eligible Employee is required to sign the wavier and release form agreed upon by the parties,’ ” she said. Peterson claims that in his 20-plus years dealing with CUNA Mutual, the current leadership team is more anti-union than any other. “ No management team has treated the union as bad as this one. We’ve heard from one of their leaders that they’re not here to break the union, but if it self destructs, that’s OK,” said Peterson. Lindner said CUNA Mutual has a reputation as a great company to work for and despite these differences it will continue to negotiate in good faith on the severance issue. “Legally, we must follow the collective bargaining agreement,” she said. Interestingly, OPEIU Local 39 is the same union used in CUNA and CUNA Credit Union. CUNA Credit Union union employees recently voted to decertify the union (see story on this page), while Peterson said OPEIU Local 39 enjoys a great relationship with CUNA. [email protected]

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