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A letter from 11 employees addressed to LMCU CEO Sandra Jelinksi seeking voluntary recognition of a union. A letter from 11 employees addressed to LMCU CEO Sandra Jelinksi seeking voluntary recognition of a union. COURTESY PHOTO

GR branch workers at largest Michigan credit union seek to unionize

BY Monday, December 12, 2022 02:22pm

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated with a statement from Lake Michigan Credit Union.

GRAND RAPIDS — Staff at Lake Michigan Credit Union’s South Division branch in Grand Rapids are seeking a vote for union representation.

A majority of employees at the branch filed a petition with federal regulators seeking an election to decide whether to form a union with representation from the Communications Workers of America, according to a statement issued today by The Committee for Better Banks. 

The organization describes itself as a coalition of bank employees, advocacy groups, and labor unions “coming together to improve conditions in the bank industry.”

The Committee for Better Banks said the LMCU staff are seeking union representation “to improve working conditions, transparency and communication.”

In a letter today to LMCU CEO Sandra Jelinski, 11 employees at the South Division branch, working through the Lake Michigan Credit Union Workers Alliance, asked her to voluntarily recognize the union by this Friday.

“As one of the busiest branches by customer transactions where multiple different languages are spoken by customers on a daily basis, we feel underappreciated and undercompensated for our contribution to making the South Division Branch successful,” the letter states. “Forming a union empowers us to have the collective voice that we deserve to ensure that our members and our staff continue having the excellent relationship we have established over the years.”

Branch staff say they “have given upper management plenty of time and opportunities to address our concerns and despite our branch management’s best efforts, they have not been addressed.”

In a statement to MiBiz, LMCU said it was “aware that an outside union is attempting to organize some of our employees at one branch location.

“The union election petition does not apply to any of our other branch locations,” the credit union’s statement said. “LMCU prides itself in providing excellent employment opportunities with competitive wages and benefits and a welcoming work environment.  In our opinion, outside unions have their own agenda, are divisive, and are unnecessary for us to maintain our high employment standards and customer service.”

LMCU is the largest credit based in Michigan with 67 branches, including 20 in markets on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The credit union as of Sept. 30 had $11.7 billion in total assets, nearly 452,000 members and more than 6,700 employees, according to the National Credit Union Administration.

Through the first three quarters of 2022, LMCU recorded $124.6 million in net income.

The Communications Workers of America earlier this year organized staff at Genesee Federal Co-Op Credit Union in Rochester, N.Y., a small credit union with $37.7 million in assets and more than 4,000 members, and in 2020 at the $1.5 billion-asset Beneficial State Bank in Oakland, Calif.

The Committee for Better Banks has also been pushing a union drive at Wells Fargo Bank that involved more than 600 workers in 29 states.

“Workers’ organizing effort in LMCU is the latest sign of the historic union momentum in the financial services industry,” said Committee for Better Banks Organizing Director Nick Weiner said in today’s announcement on the LMCU petition. “Like their friends at Genesee Co-Op, Beneficial State and Wells Fargo, LMCU workers understand that a union means a voice and respect on the job and better financial opportunities for their customers. We’re very proud to support LMCU workers in this effort and help make the credit union a better place to work.”

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Read 2975 times Last modified on Monday, 12 December 2022 16:26
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