#UnionStrong Since 1924. #UnionStronger Since 2011.
Photo l-r: (front) Michelle Packer, Millie Freeman, Jane Anderson; (back) Myia Odems, Rich Filbert, David Stokes, Matt Johnson, Tim Miller-UMWA.
Something big happened at Bank of Labor 11 years ago. Our union-owned, union-operated Bank decided it was high time to offer its non-management bankers a benefit that had not been available to employees in previous decades: the choice of union membership. With the support of the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Bank leadership partnered with representatives from United Mine Workers of America to hammer out the details of what would become Local 4242.
UMWA International Representative/District 12 Board Member, Tim Miller, was on board from the beginning to help with the formation of the Local.
By Fall of 2011, non-management staff were notified of the opportunity to join Local 4242 and, with their monthly dues’ payment, receive union-negotiated perks like cost-of-living salary adjustments, a floating holiday, reduced health care costs and dispute representation. David Stokes, Network Engineer, was voted in President of the Local and Matt Johnson, Labor Business Development Officer, was voted in Vice President.
“The Bank kicked off the new Local with a party at The Caenen Castle in Shawnee,” said Deposit Operations Specialist, Lura Beth Powell. “I remember being really excited when I heard about the benefits of union membership.”
Quivira Teller, Bonnie O’Dwyer, recalls that there was a lot of buzz around non-management staff now having the option to join a union.
Approximately 98% of eligible staff opted to join that first year. Twelve of the original 78 members are still with the Bank, including O’Dwyer and Powell.
“We’ve seen steady participation in membership throughout the past decade” explains Stokes.
Current membership numbers are 46 and growing.
Over the past year, interest in Union membership has been strong across the whole country and Stokes is hopeful that Local 4242 numbers will grow further in coming months as new staff are hired.
“It would be great to see us add 24 new members by 2024, when the Bank marks its 100th birthday,” said Johnson.