Union Fails To Oust Manager; Vows To Win Board Seats

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The membership of Madison County FCU failed in its rare bid to force out the credit union manager, whom the union charged with strong-arming the union of this union-sponsored credit union.

An initiative that would have directed the board to terminate Cheryl Lohman, president of the credit union, failed during the special meeting when the credit union's attorney ruled the initiative invalid because it called for the ouster of "management" and thus was not specific enough for Lohman's termination.

More than 250 credit union members, most of them members of local unions sponsoring the $62-million credit union, attended the unusual special meeting, forced through a petition organized by the employees' union at the credit union, the Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 1.

But James Hensley, spokesperson for the union that has been locked in a heated six-month contract negotiation with Lohman and the credit union board, vowed to carry on the effort to oust Lohman, whom the union sees as its chief antagonist. "There's no doubt about that. We're not going to back off until it's done," he said.

Hensley said the union will continue its effort to win control of the credit union's seven-person board during this month's mail balloting for four seats. Their hope is to have union allies win four of the seats, and thus gain the upper hand in the ongoing labor talks. "If we don't win control of the board then we'll try to get another special meeting to get rid of her," Hensley said.

The 30-day mail ballot is scheduled to be completed on March 27. The credit union's annual meeting of the membership is set for April 2.

Reached by telephone, Lohman would not comment on the matter.

The union, which represents 23 of the credit union's employees, was forced back to work after they were threatened with replacement during a month-long picket in December. Union members charge Lohman and the credit union board with trying to break the union, a charge denied by both Lohman and board president (chair), Patricia Gaither.

Meantime, Hensley, who represents seven credit union locals in the area, said they reached agreement on a new contract with workers at LAMPCO FCU, also in Anderson, calling for $1,000 lump sum payments and cost-of-living increases for all workers.

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