February 8th marked the opening of contract negotiations with our largest bargaining unit, CUNA Mutual Financial Group (CMFG). This is always a big undertaking as the Company and the Union try to find the right balance and tone going forward.
CMFG has been very successful during the term of the last contract. With the Union in place, with good Union wages being paid and health care coverage being offered, CMFG continues to be a successful company. As Debi Eveland, the Local 39 Business Agent, said in her opening statement to the Company negotiating team:
"CUNA Mutual has prospered over the last three years and has continued to build financial strength. In 2013 CUNA Mutual had a net income of $162M; in 2014 that rose 26.8% to 206 million. While the figures for 2015 are not in yet, we anticipate the company did well since we have heard nothing to the contrary. Your success is our success and we all prosper when the company does well."
She went on to state that "The number one concern of our membership is the subcontracting, outsourcing, and transferring of bargaining unit work" and noted just how many good paying Madison jobs have gone to outsourcing, contracting, or the refusal to fill vacant positions (thus requiring Union members to pick up those duties as well).
The Union stands ready to offer solutions that will benefit both the Company and the community, because good jobs in the community help make it strong.
CMFG has declared
its support for "causes that help to strengthen our communities and the lives of the people who live in them" and Debi responded:
"We want CUNA Mutual Group to continue being a leader in the Madison area when it comes to helping the local community. We also want the company to continue being known as one of the best places to work."
We have every reason to believe that negotiations will be tough but fair, and that CMFG understands that having the Union has helped make it the successful company that it is. Director of Employee & Labor Relations Jim Denholm wrote: “I wanted to proactively reach out to Union Leadership and ensure that you understand CUNA Mutual Group’s commitment to our longstanding positive relations. It is our desire to continue our relationship with OPEIU, Local 39 and the represented employees, regardless of any legislation passed.”
Both sides seem to understand that the Company works best when it works with us, the Union. As Union members, we must stay unified and strong. The Negotiating team will use that strength to bargain the best contract for all of us. Look for more updates, respond to that first survey (there may be more coming in the days ahead), or requests to show your solidarity.
Together we are Union Strong.