450+ employees with CUNA Mutual Group picketing over unfair labor practices
Update: This story has been updated with the company’s response.
MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Hundreds of employees with CUNA Mutual Group took to the picket lines Friday in protest over alleged unfair labor practices.
The Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 39 called the union’s first ever strike. Employees with the company said the picketing is a result of failed negotiations that have continued over the last year.
“We have to show them that what they’re doing isn’t right, what they’re doing is illegal,” Chief Steward for OPEIU Local 39 Joe Evica said. “They need to get back to the bargaining table, they need to bargain a fair contract and I’m so happy and proud to stand with my coworkers, with our community.”
According to employees, they have tried to reach a fair agreement over issues such as health insurance, pay equity, and retirement security following the end of their existing contract, but no progress has been made.
“And yet every step of the way, what they’ve done is refuse to bargain in good faith, they’ve refused to meet with us, they’ve refused to provide us information that’s legally required, they’ve attempted to hide contractors by changing their job titles in our workday system from contractor to consultant,” Evica said.
President of the South Central Federation of Labor Kevein Gundlach said the union voted to authorize in the vote in April, with 92% of ballots in favor of allowing the strike.
Organizers say the strike will continue until 6 p.m. Friday and resume on Monday. For more information on OPEIU Local 39, visit https://opeiu39.org/CMGUnited.aspx.
On Saturday, a CUNA spokesperson responded to NBC15′s inquiry about the strike, arguing that the company has been negotiating in good faith and provided proposals designed to address the issues between themselves and the union. He pointed out that CUNA and the OPEIU have an 80-year relationship and it expects that to continue into the future.
“We have had thoughtful conversations, listening carefully to the issues outlined by the Union, and talking through complex issues facing our company, customers and employees,” CUNA’s Media and Reputation Consultant Barclay Pollack said.
According to Pollack, the company has offered a double-digit pay increase while maintaining health benefits, remote work policies, and retirement benefits.
Pollack added CUNA has a plans in place to offer uninterrupted service to its customers during the strike.
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