Your Voice, Your Choice
OPEIU Local 39
February 2016
Good news, Bad news. Mostly Good News.
The beginning of April saw a number of important events. Some issues found resolutions, such as the contract negotiations with CMFG and the Supreme Court race. And one notable issue became less clear, with an important court ruling on Wisconsin's so-called "right to work" law.

More below!
RTW is wrong
Contract Negotiations with CMFG Result in Strong Contract
After eight weeks of negotiations, the contract bargaining with CUNA Mutual Financial Group (CMFG) has resulted in a strong contract with several wins and few compromises.

The Company had stated going in that their number one goal was a radical change in the health care options for represented employees. Their intent was to end participation in all HMOs that have been part of the contract for decades, forcing all represented workers into Consumer Driven Health Plans as they had with non-represented workers at the end of last year. The Union Bargaining team held firm throughout negotiations, offering numerous proposals in addressing the Company's monetary concerns even as they were listening to Membership's strong objections to getting rid of the HMOs. In the end, the Company came to realize that Membership would not vote in favor of any contract that did not have at least one HMO. Even though the Union did agree to reduce the number of active HMOs, the great majority of members will not have to change their health care choices.

Other wins for the Union were three additional job classification levels that will help with retention and hiring, especially the two new entry-level ones, allowing that work to go to Union members instead of outsourced to contractors. New employees are also now able to join the Union after 31 days of employment instead of waiting for the end of their probation period. We also got additional limitations on contractors and promises from the Company to work on the issue.

There will be across the board raises for each year of this contract and contract language was changed to allow retention raises and bonuses for any reason that management saw fit. Members also gained the ability to take paid Parental Leave for up to four weeks at 60% of salary. This kicks in after July of this year and applies to both mothers and fathers and adoptions as well as births. The Company had also wanted to end Retiree Health Reimbursement Accounts (retiree HRAs), but the bargaining team held firm and there are few changes to those plans.

This was a strong win for the Union and demonstrated the power in Solidarity. Union members showed a quiet presence by wearing blue on Wednesdays, bringing their water bottles to meetings and wearing OPEIU stickers during an all-staff meeting. That solidarity was noted and helped get us the best contract result in years when Membership ratified the contract with 93% voting in favor.

This contract also proved the value of belonging to a Union. Non-represented employees have lost a lot in the last few years compared to those of us in the Union. Yes, non-represented do get a higher CSSP payout percentage. In contrast, many Union members get:
  • An HMO option
  • Guaranteed annual raises
  • Guaranteed CSSP payout (dependent on CSSP metrics)
  • Personal days
  • Sick leave balance bank
  • Vacation carry over of 10 days instead of 5
  • Eight sick days earned yearly instead of 5
  • Retiree HRAs

The value of having a Union as well as the power in Solidarity was proven in this last contract. If anyone tells you that the dues aren't "worth it" just show them this list.

Together we are Union Strong.
A loss, a win
The election held on April 5th did not end favorably for Unions in Wisconsin. Rebecca Bradley, appointed to the court by Gov. Scott Walker, won her seat outright with 52% of the vote. She was helped by several factors, but one of largest concern to Union supporters was the large number of votes cast in favor of either of the Democratic Presidential nominees that did NOT cast a vote in the Supreme Court election. For labor-friendly politicians to succeed, it takes voters casting votes up and down the ballot, and that didn't happen on the 5th.
In a win for Wisconsin Unions - albeit, most likely a temporary one - a Dane County Judge struck down Gov. Walker's so-called "right to work" law on Friday, April 8th. The judge specifically pointed out the "free rider" problem that's created when people are able to take advantage of the work Unions do without paying for it. In no other professional capacity is one group forced to do the work of another without remuneration.

More than half of states have these sorts of laws and this is the first time in 70 years that a challenge has been sustained in court. But since this suit was brought in state court, the WI Supreme Court will most likely overturn this decision.
Held at the Union Office
This is the IBEW Union Building:
701 Watson Ave, Madison WI 53713

We meet in the conference room one floor up from our Local's offices.

PS - Membership Meeting in May
The Union succeeds through everyone's  efforts. Please join us next month, May 18th at 5:30PM.

  • Unit Updates
  • Financial Update
  • Update on successful 2016 CMFG contract

The floor is always open for questions, comments, and suggestions.

Upcoming Membership Meetings
Membership meetings are held the third Wednesday of the second month of the quarter, at 5:30 PM in the Union Office.

May 18th, 2016
August 17th, 2016
November 16, 2016
February 15th, 2017

This is your Union. Your participation gives us the strength to face the continued opposition of both companies and politicians.
Unions = Gym Membership
Know Your Weingarten Rights!
The US Supreme Court has ruled that the National Labor Relations Act gives workers the right to request union representation during investigatory interviews by supervisors, security personal, and other managerial staff.  These are called Weingarten Rights.
An investigatory interview occurs if 1) management questions you to obtain information; and 2) you have reasonable apprehension that your answers could be used as a basis for discipline or other adverse action.
You must ask for union representation either before or during an investigatory interview.  Management does not have to remind you of this right.  If your request is refused and Management continues asking questions, you may refuse to answer.  Your employer is guilty of an unfair labor practice and charges may be filed.  If you are questioned in a situation where Weingarten may apply, read or present this statement:

"If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, or affect my personal working conditions, I respectfully request that my union representative, officer, or steward be present at this meeting. Until my representative arrives, I choose not to participate in this discussion."
Local 39 Union Offices
701 Watson Ave
Ste 102
Madison WI 53713