Union Officials Say They're Pulling Funds From Ind. CU

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Officials of several unions, some of which sponsor Madison County FCU, said they have begun withdrawing deposits from the $52-million CU torn by union strife over the past few months.

Rick Muir, president of Anderson Federation of Teachers, one of the original sponsors of the credit union, formerly known as Madison County Teachers FCU, said his union withdrew $60,000 and has called on its members to follow suit, leaving only a minimal deposit to allow them to retain voting rights for this spring's board elections.

"We've told them to pull their money until the contract dispute is settled. (But) We don't want to ruin the credit union," Muir said.

One credit union director who did not want to be identified said he was aware of the move to drain funds from the credit union and had received letters from several local unions to that effect. "I know some of the teachers in the teachers union have (pulled their funds)," the director said.

James Hensely, chief negotiator for the credit union's union, the Office and Professional Employees International Union, Local 1, said several other locals participating in the credit union have sent letters to their members asking them to pull funds from the beleaguered institution. They include unions representing the city, county and municipal workers, police and firefighters. "All of the unions are pretty much sticking together with us on this thing," he said.

Negligible Amount

Cheryl Lohman, president of the credit union, conceded that some individuals have pulled their money from the credit union but she said so far the amount has been negligible.

"There's no evidence that it's been wide scale," she said. "Maybe, like one person or two people, here or there. But nothing significant."

Hensely repeated charges that management and the board were engaging in union-busting tactics and want to see the union removed from the credit union, just as it was from CUNA CU last September, when employees voted to certify a different local of the OPEIU.

The union has begun a drive to oust members of the seven-member board and elect sympathetic directors to the three seats to be filled this March.

"This thing's not going to be over when a new contract is done. It won't be over until we get a new board and new manager," said Hensely.

But Lohman denied the charges. "I don't know why they say we're trying to break the union," she said. "Obviously, the credit union runs much better when we have a contract in place."

The 27 members of the local returned to work two weeks ago after a four-week picket after agreeing to federal mediation. A mediation session was scheduled for last week.

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