LMCU union organizer fired for ‘violation of policy’

Ivan Diaz. Courtesy of Kent County

A Lake Michigan Credit Union worker who helped organize a recent union effort said he was fired from the organization.

Ivan Diaz, who had been employed as a member service representative at LMCU’s Southern Division branch, said Wednesday (February 1) that he had been terminated from his position.

LMCU did not immediately offer comment at press time.

Diaz worked at LMCU for nearly five years and was one of the Southern Division branch employees organizing the union effort. Employees announced their union petition with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in December and voted to unionize with the Communications Workers of America in early January after winning their union election.

According to the workers, the aim was to improve working conditions, transparency and communication within the agency.

“With a union, we can work directly with senior management to resolve long-standing issues we have at our branch, so we can better serve our customers and our community,” Diaz said in a January statement.

On February 1, Diaz said he arrived at work and helped a client before his branch manager and a member of the LMCU management team walked into his office and informed him that he was licensed.

According to Diaz, the reason given for his dismissal was “a violation of policy.” After inquiring further, Diaz said he had received documents but had not had a chance to review them at this time.

“When I asked what policy I violated, they handed me a few pages and it looked like a timeline,” Diaz said. “I didn’t get to read them much because they were always talking to me and asking me for my keys. … But I haven’t had any disciplinary action recently. I’m pretty sure I have little or nothing on my record when it comes to disciplinary action. »

Diaz told management to expect to hear from the union and was escorted out of the building.

Although disappointed, Diaz said he and his team have been trained and prepared for this type of situation. Still, in light of current events, he said he was surprised by the decision.

“Given recent rulings on other things that have happened, say with Starbucks workers or Amazon workers and how the NLRB has handled those cases, I’m surprised how LMCU made this decision” , Diaz said.

“I think this is a good example of why our state and national legislatures need to do everything possible to update our worker protection laws which have not been updated in decades. .”

Diaz also said that the deputy branch manager of LMCU’s southern division was fired recently because “her values ​​didn’t align with company values” and that she would no longer be able to work well with the Branch Manager.

“As the dismissal of my assistant branch manager shows, I think there should be protections for managers as well; not to have their jobs and livelihoods threatened just because their employees are unionizing,” he said.

For now, Diaz plans to work as a substitute teacher through the court process. Diaz was also recently elected Kent County Commissioner, representing District 20.

Nick Weiner, organizing director of the Committee for Better Banks (CBB), said in a social media post the organization will support Diaz and hold LMCU management accountable for violating Diaz’s rights.

LMCU workers have unionized with the Communications Workers of America, a member of the CBB coalition.

“We are proud of the LMCU workers in the Southern Division Branch who have come together to form a union with the goal of making their credit union a better place to work and bank,” Weiner said in January. “Organizing a union is never an easy task, but LMCU workers know that to best support their local community, they need a voice at work.”

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