Separation Anxiety Plagues CMGUnion

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MADISON, Wis. - (08/26/04) -- The labor conflict at CUNA MutualGroup intensified this week with a group of employees claiming theyhad gathered enough support to separate the company's union, thelocal 39 of the Office and Professional Employees InternationalUnion, into separate bargaining units. Dennis Krull, an employee inthe company's information technology unit, said they had collectedabout 250 names on a petition asking that the professional workersbe allowed to form their own bargaining unit under the OPEIU. Theunprecedented separation of the union would require approval from30% of the targeted employees, estimated at 450 to 650, by Krull."We've got what we need now," he told The Credit Union Journal.Representatives of the union said they will challenge the rareseparation bid because they don't believe the cited employeesqualify as "professionals" under the National Labor RelationsBoard's standards. John Peterson, chief negotiator for the OPEIU,local 39, said the petitioners are confusing qualifications forexempt employees, those employees who are exempt from overtimerules, from those that qualify as "professional."

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