I have read with interest the coverage and commentary regarding the negotiations between CUNA Mutual and the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 39. Like many employees at CUNA Mutual, I've spent my entire career here – more than 17 years. I started in an entry level job – a unionized job – and was afforded the opportunity to grow, develop, and advance in the organization. For the past eight years, I've been in management and from my perspective, there is no question that CUNA Mutual treats employees well, pays employees well, and provides excellent benefits to employees. There is also no question that CUNA Mutual is a different company today than 17 years ago. Most employees are working harder and longer than five or 10 years ago. The competition we're facing has intensified. And the demands of our credit union customers continue to increase. Sure I miss a shorter work week and having Friday afternoons off in the summer. And I wish that health costs were not skyrocketing so I would not have to pay aportion of insurance premiums. But, at same time, I appreciate working for a company that has the foresight and strength to make tough decisions – decisions intended to ensure the long-term financial strength and competitiveness of a company I hope someday to retire from. Bottom line is, it's a trade-off I'm willing to make. As much as I may miss the CUNA Mutual of the past, I know that the CUNA Mutual of today – financially stronger, more productive, results-oriented – is a better CUNA Mutual. And a better CUNA Mutual is not only good for the customers we serve, but for the people the company employs. And while I am working harder, this company supports an excellent quality of life – which includes family-work balance (important to me, my wife, and three school-aged children). I know that the contract CUNA Mutual is proposing to the union includes changes that are not popular with some of the unionized employees. But, it's important to note that those changes – replacing an entitlement culture with a performance culture, 40-hour work week, benefit changes – are already in place with the vast majority of CUNA Mutual employees, including myself. And yet, even with these changes, when you add it all up, I'm still not aware of any other company that does a better job at "taking care of its own." I do believe CUNA Mutual is working hard to make changes to benefit its customers and its employees. And while I can be nostalgic about how great things were in the past, I'm much more interested in building a strong future. Jeff Milbrath VP – Web & Contact Center Development CUNA Mutual Group. Madison, Wis.

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