WYOMING, Penn.-A group of workers from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades has been picketing the future site of a UFCW FCU branch and are threatening to move their accounts-quite possibly to one of the big banks.
John Hayduk, CEO at the $105-million CU, said that because the new facility is being built by a contractor he has no control over who does the work, though he noted that he has built three other buildings to date and used union workers whenever possible-especially if they were members of the CU. "Ninety to 95% of the workers were union in the three buildings we've built," he said.
But IUPAT representative Bob Griffiths said that the new branch is being built by a contractor with a history of using non-union workers, and that he and other IUPAT reps reached out to Hayduk about that long before the work began. "These credit unions were formed by unions; how in the world do you go and build non-union when you're a CU formed by union workers?"
About a dozen picketers-along with a giant inflatable rat-can be seen outside the CU on days when weather permits. Griffiths said that more than 260 IUPAT members have accounts and loans at UFCW-in addition to family accuonts. He said that members have been discussing moving their accounts and loans out of UFCW, though they have not settled on a new institution.
"We have more problems with credit unions than we do with banks," said Griffiths, who pointed out that IUPAT workers were hired to retrofit every branch in the state when Wachovia was absorbed by Wells Fargo. He added that PNC has also consistently employed unionized workers, whereas other CUs in the Keystone State have not been as reliable, he said.
"UFCW, we never thought this would happen with them," said Griffiths. "At one time we had our own credit union, and we may go back and do something like that again and start our own credit union. You can't trust these people at all. That's about the gist of it, and that's why we're set to pull our accounts."
Pickets Planned Until December
Neither Hayduk nor Griffiths say they have done calculations on how the closure of those loans and accounts might affect the credit union.
Hayduk said there has not been much response to the picketing from the CU's 19,521 members. "We've heard members that just thought that it was silly," he said. "Some members asked me about it and talked to me about it and couldn't see the logic," he said.
Both parties say UFCW has not reached out to the picketers or IUPAT, and Griffiths said he has no further plans to approach Hayduk "because he is not listening."
The new branch is expected to be completed within a few weeks, and Hayduk said the facility is set to open by early December. Griffiths said he plans to picket until the branch opens. "Whenever there's a nice day, I'm not going away. I'm going to continue to picket."