MADISON, Wis. – There is a new proposal on the table in the ongoing contract dispute between CUNA Mutual and its union, the Office & Professional Employees International Union, Local 39. The union's former three-year contract expired March 31, and in resounding fashion the union shot down CUNA Mutual's new proposal. Now there is a new deal on the table. At press time, CUNA Mutual had just faxed the union an adjusted proposal that it believes addresses some of the sensitivities of its union employees while keeping to its goal of becoming more efficient. Major areas of change include adjustments to the 40-hour work week proposal (currently the union works 37 hour weeks); making raises across the board not based on midpoint of salary as in previous proposal; allowing employees to decide between the longevity bonus (which was eliminated in old proposal) or its company bonus program dubbed the Corporate Success Sharing Plan; capping year over year increases in employee health insurance costs at 15%; and increasing the time the chief union steward and union stewards have to conduct union business on company time. Initial reaction from the union was a bit emotional, admitted OPEIU Local 39 Business Manager John Peterson. Peterson said the union is discouraged that it was receiving calls from local media outlets who had received the proposal before it came across the union's fax. However Peterson said he is encouraged about the company's attempt to amend its last proposal. "They're going to have to be candid and explain all of this to us. They've been characterizing us as wanting to continue our corporate campaign against them. That's not true. We want to get this done and start working with them on the banker attacks," said Peterson. Peterson said since the proposal had just been received it was too early to make comments. One area of the proposal he did say union employees would reject on its face is the 40 hour-work week changes. The company said the proposal gives employees more flexibility with their half hour allotted unpaid breaks. Employees receive 30 minutes paid and 30 minutes unpaid of break time each day. The proposal allows employees to not have to take the unpaid time, thus allowing them to shorten their day by a half hour. Peterson said any way you cut it's still a change from the current 37 hour work schedule union employees enjoy. CUNA Mutual spokesperson Sydney Lindner said the new flexibility keeps with CUNA Mutual's goal of increasing productivity, while giving employees more options with their time. Credit Union Times will provide full coverage of the union's response in an upcoming issue. There have been a number of incidents of vandalism to the homes and vehicles of members of CUNA Mutual management in recent weeks. According to CUNA Mutual, it is a security issue and it will not discuss it further, but did acknowledge the incidents. Any ties to the vandalism and the union is off base said Peterson. "They have video cameras that are focused on their vehicles in the parking garage. If an employee were doing that they would have already been apprehended and terminated," said Peterson. Peterson speculated that CUNA Mutual may have brought in hired guns to do the vandalism in an effort to discredit the union publicly. Peterson said it sounds outlandish, but has been done before in company/union disputes. Lindner called that claim "ridiculous" -

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