OPEIU and our employers are partnering together for the success of our members! Below you'll find the story of how one Steward came up with a creative way to keep a member on the job. There is also News around the Local and a Call to Action.
When we work together....
How the Union came up with a way to keep a member on the job
CUNA Mutual Group (CMG) has a robust Internship program that, over the years, has led to a large number of new-hires right out of college. One of these was a woman named Idah Karonga. Born in Zimbabwe, Idah was here on a student visa when she became an intern in 2015. When she graduated the next year, she was hired back full-time and became an important part of the Applications Architecture team.

But Idah's student status ran out. The company applied for the US Green Card Lottery, a program that is designed to provide employment based immigrant visas, through a lottery system, to countries (such as Zimbabwe) that have low immigration rates into the US. In Idah's case, CMG applied for her "Green Card" but the odds are not good: only a few thousand are selected out of tens of thousands of applicants. That first year, Idah's application didn't get selected.

Idah wasn't done. She went back to school for her Master's degree in Computer Science. Meanwhile, CUNA Mutual and the Union tried to find a way to hold her job for her. Michael Pionke, the Chief Steward at the time, came up with the idea to use a work status called Recall. This is usually applied to laid-off workers to give them an opportunity to return, but he thought it could be applied in Idah's case as well.

Mike worked with her manager's and with CMG's HR department. Everyone raved about Idah's work and wanted to find a way to keep her and HR agreed that the Recall status could be applied. "But, what has surprised me the most," Idah told us, "is how everybody has been really understanding and willing to help me. The manager, the company, and the union. I was surprised that the union was so understanding, and they were willing to do a lot to help me. They were also super-flexible. It was like I had a whole team on my side."

The Recall status has allowed Idah to work part time during the school year and full-time during the summer and this last summer, the company submitted her application again. This time, against very long odds, Idah's application was selected! She's still waiting on processing (a separate step) but she's that much closer to becoming a full-time member of Local 39 and employee of CUNA Mutual Group!

When the company and the Union work together, great things can happen, sometimes for whole departments, and sometimes for just one worker. Idah's situation is unique and required creativity on the part of the Chief Steward to find a solution. The Union puts that kind of ingenuity behind every situation brought to its attention, striving to do whatever they can within the bounds of the contract to help members and the company thrive.
Join us on LinkedIn
Remember, OPEIU Local 39 is on LinkedIn! because together we grow and we strengthen our Union, we have established this LinkedIn presence. Please visit our new page (click that link, the icon to the left, or the icon at the bottom of the page) and tap "Follow" to help us grow our visibility and to help you stay up to date on the latest Union-related news.
Call to Action!
There is still time!
As stated last month, President Trump is currently under investigation by a special prosecutor for a number of illegal activities and may be an unindicted co-conspirator in a case of election fraud. If he is indicted or impeached, his fate could ultimately be decided by the US Supreme Court. He's named Brett Kavanaugh to succeed Justice William Kennedy. In addition to his years in the Bush Whitehouse (most of the documentation around that is still being withheld) there are now reasonable claims of perjury against him and a claims of sexual assault.

The GOP-led Judicial committee has postponed his confirmation vote for just one week. There is still time to call!

The AFL-CIO has issued a Call to Action, saying "Brett Kavanaugh has a dangerous track-record of protecting the privileges of the wealthy and powerful at the expense of working people." Click on the link above and start writing.
News around the Local
Note: Bargaining a good contract is just the start of what the Union does for us. Once the contract has been agreed to, the terms of the contract have to be honored by both the Union and the company that signs the agreement. Below, you'll see how the Union fights to maintain the gains made in those contract negotiations by using the remedy provided for in the contract itself: the grievance. Feel free to reach out to a steward or business agent if you have any questions.
Grievance filed against Aspirus
The Union has filed a grievance against the company for failing to recognize additional employees covered under our recognition clause as members of OPEIU. We will be meeting with the company to discuss the grievance and any possible remedies.
Grievance filed against MGE
The Union has filed a grievance against MG&E to stop them from implementing changes to the health insurance plans without input from the Union. According to the contract, both parties will meet to discuss any changes and the rational behind those changes.

We're waiting on the company's response to schedule a "Step 1" meeting.
Grievance filed against CUNA Mutual Group
The Union has filed a grievance over bargaining unit work being outsourced to an outside vendor. The company plans to move 30% of the work done by fourteen bargaining unit employees. We say that the company should be hiring represented employees to do the work.

We're waiting on the company's response to schedule a "Step 1" meeting.
Welcome New Members!
IT: Nicole He, Lauren Shirley, Zach Bigelow
Claims Specialist: Sherri Isely
Administrative: Beth Hopkins
Contract Negotiations with Verso to begin in October
Contract negotiations will commence with management on October 31st. OPEIU will be traveling to Pittsburgh to partner with USW to negotiate a contract with management. These negotiations will take place after the failed Blue Wolf Capital deal collapsed in June after the Executive Board of Verso rejected Blue Wolf Capitalā€™s ownership deal.
Contract Negotiations have begun with Corenso NA
The Union and the company have begun contract negotiations. The company has made some organizational changes which now affects different lines of business within the company. Management would like to see each line of business as a separate entity. OPEIU is still learning what the effects of these changes are to membership if any
Unions = Gym Membership
Upcoming Membership Meetings
Membership meetings are held the third Wednesday of the second month of the quarter, at 5:30PM at the Union Office.

November 15, 2018
February 21, 2019
May 15, 2019
August 21, 2019

This is your Union. Your participation gives us the strength to face the continued opposition of both politicians and companies.
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."
If you have any news you would like to share with other Members, please let us know! You can contact us via email or our Facebook page.