Unions uncover mystery "it" in Spokane, WA
– For weeks people in Spokane have been asking the same question, “What is it?” “It” has been on TV. Mystery billboards went up around the city with “It just works for me”-and nothing else. No name. No logo. No clue where “it” came from or what “it” means.
Where did it come from?
Is one person or business behind the campaign? No.
The Union Credit Union created the campaign to honor unions and union workers. “It just works for me” is much larger than the credit union itself, honoring all that unions do for their members and all that unionized employees do for their employers. “It” is the justice behind union pride.
Unions and credit unions share this mission. Unions historically and currently create just working conditions including safety, protection of children, fair working hours and wages. Credit unions provide financial justice by allowing the owners of the credit union an opportunity to lend to one another. Because members loan to each other as a service, not to make a profit, they give one another better rates. This creates competition in the marketplace, which forces banks to offer everyone better loans. In fact unions and credit unions have shared roots in the United States. Edward Filene was a pioneer of both unions and credit unions. The term “union” in “credit union” is a direct reference to labor unions.
“Good paying jobs are important to Spokane families now more than ever,” said Beth Thew, Secretary-Treasurer of the Spokane Regional Labor Council, “It just works for me is about all that unions do to ensure working families are taken care of.”
Union membership provides individuals the ability to maintain or improve their working and employment conditions. We can all thank unions for child labor laws, public education, 40-hour work weeks, vacation time and minimum wage – just to name a few.
Members of Bricklayers Local 3 in Spokane started The Union Credit Union, formerly Inland Empire Trades Credit Union, in 1968, to provide the same just opportunity to credit. It allowed them to loan each other money, as a service instead of taking an expensive loan from a bank. The credit union is still run by union members, for union members.
The Union Credit Union is a unique financial institution in Washington state, and one of a handful in the country, that is run and managed by an all union staff and board. Even the CEO is a union member, which is representative of the credit union’s membership. The credit union serves union members and their families, unions and union employers.
“Union members deserve better than high priced banking, outrageous credit card rates and payday lenders.” Krummel said. “Instead of giving dividends to shareholders we give profits back to members in the form of lower interest rates on home and car loans and "Step-up" microloans for workplace equipment such as laptops, stethoscopes and other tools.”
Krummel is excited about the potential the "Step-up" loans provide to prevent worker displacement. The credit union and the Spokane Regional Labor Council together applied for state and federal grants to support the Step-Up Program. It is being called one of the first loan programs in the nation to address worker displacement before early intervention.