CUNA Mutual Union Votes ToSplinter

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MADISON, Wis. - (01/07/05) -- A group of white-collar workers atCUNA Mutual Insurance Group voted overwhelmingly to separate fromthe company's main employees union and create their own bargainingunit within the union, the Office and Professional EmployeesInternational Union, Local 39. The group, consisting of about 350workers in CUNA Mutual's IT department, voted 199-to-76 for therare union split. "This was a very good turnout," Dennis Krull, anIT worker spearheading the separation initiative, told The CreditUnion Journal of the 351 ballots sent out. "Now we have to workwith the (OPEIU) International to try to put together a (contract)proposal." John Peterson, business manager for the Local 39, whohas been negotiating with the company the past 10 months on a newcontract, said they will not challenge the results of the vote,which was agreed upon by both union officials and the IT workers."The next step is to notify the company and go from there," hesaid. CUNA Mutual officials, who have been engaged in anincreasingly bitter battle with the union over the stalled contracttalks, stressed they were not involved in the separation bid. "It'san internal matter between the Local 39 and the group," said SydneyLindner, spokesman for CUNA Mutual. The main question is whetherthe separate bargaining unit will facilitate a settlement betweenthe company and its main employees union. "Hopefully, the companywill recognize it needs to bargain in good faith with both units,"said Peterson.

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