Time For Some Good Old Civil Disobedience

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The announcement of the new budget by NCUA and the 5% to 8% pay raises given to the unionized staff and subsequent matching increases given to management staff ("We have to do it-the arbitrator forced our hand!") should be met with constant and continuing acts of civil disobedience.

This has gotten so far out of hand that the situation demands a response that is nothing short of a march on Washington and formalized complaints to Congress demanding that something be done about these ludicrous benefit awards. Some good, old-time '60s sit-ins and refusals to comply with any edicts from these "servants of the people" until some common sense enters the debate.

The real crime is binding arbitration could even be used during these negotiations. As government agencies have learned, binding arbitration has caused more destruction than any strikes could ever have caused. Binding arbitration, in the public sector, simply does not work. It is nothing more than an impasse to negotiated compromise. Who is going to work for a settlement when the worst they can do is the last, best offer of management? You will always roll the dice with an arbitrator because it always comes out in your favor.

In this case it should send a clear message to credit unions that the people at NCUA need to be removed from their positions of responsibility and replaced by people who have a sense of their obligation to the regulated and more importantly the desire to do their jobs and not turn their responsibility over to some arbitrator.

We are past the time to ask politely. Now is the time for action. Now is the time for offense and an organized effort to get control of this mess and the only way that message can be sent is by an organized protest of massive proportion. These protests would focus a media spotlight on the ineffectiveness of CU regulators and point out needed changes in how exam and supervision is conducted. The trades-that means the leagues and CUNA-better start earning their pay and fighting for credit unions. That's fighting-not pleading or begging. We can't be nice any longer in the hopes that if we "go along we will get along." Nor can we be frightened of the consequence for speaking out about these obvious missteps and we cannot hide when we do it. If this kind of stuff continues to happen you are out of business anyway and it will not take that long.

Legal challenges to every one of their edicts should be our normal response. We should challenge everything NCUA tries to do and lobby for the separation of our fund and its administration by a completely separate administrator. We should lobby for fewer examiners and replace them with analysts who simply take the data and point out the credit unions taking excessive risk-sending in examiners to deal with the risks. These cases are easy to determine based on the 5300 data. Adding layer upon layer of examiners is ludicrous. If you sit on your heels they will simply continue to take advantage of you and continue to tax you for their excesses and your reward will be the performance we have suffered with for years. Don't believe me-read their Inspector General reports. Do not be afraid. If you let fear dilute your anger you condemn yourself and the movement to the continued abuse and eventual loss of all credit unions.

Dennis G. Moriarity, CEO
Unity Credit Union, Warren, Mich.

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