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MADISON, Wis. – The National Labor Relations Board has dismissed a CUNA Mutual charge that the union failed to bargain in good faith. The ruling came down in a Dec. 30 letter from the NLRB to CUNA Mutual and its union, the Office of Professional Employees International Union Local 39. CUNA Mutual alleged Local 39 violated Section 8(b)(3) of the National Labor Relations Act, which covers failure of a union to negotiate collectively with the employer. The NLRB admonished CUNA Mutual for sticking steadfastly to its final offer. “The Employer’s rigid adherence to its last, best, and final offer is one of the factors I have relied on in finding overall Employer bad faith bargaining in Case 30-CA-16807. The Union’s bargaining conduct to date has, in part, been a response to the Employer’s unlawful conduct,” the letter states. It went on to say the union has never refused to meet, and has bargained in good faith with CUNA Mutual. CUNA Mutual has been saying for months it believes its proposal is in the best interest of the company and is more than fair for union employees. It seeks a union vote on the proposal. The union surveyed its members on the proposal and said members found too many problems with it to warrant a vote. CUNA Mutual said it has not received the written letter, but is exploring an appeal based on the NLRB’s verbal notification. In related news, the results of a vote on a proposal for approximately 350 CUNA Mutual technology employees to be classified as professional employees and be grouped as a separate bargaining unit within the union were expected sometime after press time. If successful, the employees would still be represented by OPEIU Local 39, but would have a separate contract. OPEIU Local 39 Business Manager John Peterson said the IT employees believe much of what’s holding up the overall contract, does not apply to them, though he suspects there will be similar hold-ups for the separate unit if it comes to fruition. Interestingly, it was this group that former CUNA Mutual CEO Mike Kitchen offered $1,000 for the group to retain legal counsel. The action led to Kitchen’s resignation.

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