Magazine article American Banker

Delaware's First Omni Is Union's Next Target in Organizing Effort

Magazine article American Banker

Delaware's First Omni Is Union's Next Target in Organizing Effort

Article excerpt

MILLSBORO, Del. -- The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, unsuccessful in its first bid to organize a Delaware bank, is taking aim at the largest employer among the state's newest banks in its latest organizing drive.

Members of Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 27 in Baltimore have launched a campaign targeted at the First Omni Bank here. Their efforts so far have included distributing handbills outside the bank's offices.

First Omni, opened in 1982 as a subsidiary of the First Maryland Bancorp., is one of more than a dozen out-of-state banks to come to Delaware since the state cut bank taxes and eliminated usury ceilings in 1981. First Omni employs more than 500 office workers at its credit card processing center in this Sussex County town of fewer than 1500 people.

Carol Dunsworth, spokeswoman for First Maryland, confirmed that union organizers were handing out informational material, but she said that was "the only evidence of union action in Millsboro."

The organizing campaign is being directed from outside and does not reflect and discontent among First Omni's workers, Ms. Dunsworth said.

However, Robert C. Donnelly, Local 27 organizing director, said the union started its campaign in response to calls from First Omni employees. Mr. Donnelly said the workers, who earn an average of $10,000 to $12,000 a year, are upset over the bank's recent announcement of a $5-a-week salary increase coupled with a doubling of the amount employees must pay toward their health benefits. …

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