May 24, 2023
Madison, WI – Striking workers at TruStage (formerly CUNA Mutual Group) have voted to extend their strike. 450 workers represented by the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) Local 39 have been on an unfair labor practice (ULP) strike since May 19th, 2023. The Union has been without a contract since March 31st, 2022 – 419 days. A total of nine unfair labor practices have been filed, charging that TruStage has violated the law by refusing to bargain, retaliating against union members, failing to provide information, and surveilling union members.
OPEIU 39 members held an emergency meeting on the evening of Tuesday, May 23, 2023, to evaluate the strike and consider its position before negotiations scheduled for May 24th. In addition to a positive evaluation of the strike, OPEIU 39 noted that other unions had stated their members will not cross the picket line: IBEW 2304, Teamsters 344, Teamsters 695, CWA 4652, UFCW 1473. More have donated to support the strike, such as SEIU-WI and AFSCME locals 720 and 6000.
“I’m voting to authorize an extension of the strike because we’re all prepared to do what it takes to get TruStage to stop breaking the law, and to secure a fair contract,” said Will Roberts, a Media Specialist and member of the Union.
Following a presentation to hundreds of members and robust discussion, members voted 94% to extend the strike beyond the one week initially authorized in April. The strike was to end after Thursday, May 25th. The extension vote authorizes the strike to continue through June. Future extensions are also possible.
Teuta Resad, a programmer and union member for over twenty-five years, said, “Tonight was a testament of what it means to belong to something that is bigger than you. This strike has united us even more, and we will not stop until we get what we deserve. With a whopping 94% yes vote, the amazing members of OPEIU 39 have authorized our bargaining team to extend the strike!”
Sarah Larsen, a member of the Union’s bargaining committee explained, “The strike extension sends a powerful message to the company that our membership is unwilling to back away from getting a fair contract. The overwhelming margin by which they voted to stay on the picket should show the company: membership means business.”
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https://opeiu39.org/CMGUnited.aspx | https://twitter.com/CMG_UNITED | linktr.ee/opeiucsc
Interview with Kathryn Bartlett-Mulvihill of OPEIU Local 39: https://www.spreaker.com/user/15475168/we-rise-fighting-may-7-2023-labor-news