Union Will Not Seek Criminal ChargesAgainst Kitchen

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MADISON, Wis. - (08/05/04) -- The Office and Profession EmployeesInternational Union has filed a new civil complaint with theNational Labor Relations Board over the actions of ousted CUNAMutual Group CEO Michael Kitchen and has asked federal authoritiesto investigate. "There is a provision in labor law that makes it acriminal offense to give money or anything of value to any employeeinvolved in a labor matter," asserted Kurt Kobelt, a Madisonattorney representing the local 39 of the OPEIU. Kobelt told TheCredit Union Journal the union has filed an unfair labor practicecharge against CUNA Mutual for the incident which cost Kitchen hisjob earlier this week in which Kitchen admitted to offering $1,000to an employee group to help them hire a well-known firm thathelped in the decertification of the union at CUNA CU two yearsago. "In our view, this is a violation of the criminal statute,"said Kobelt. While civil remedies brought under the National LaborRelations Act would be minor and would affect the company, acriminal action would be more severe and could be brought againstKitchen, personally, Kobelt said. Officials at the U.S. Attorney'soffice in Madison, which was contacted by the union, would notcomment on the case.

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