Kootenay Savings Credit Union staff vote in favour of strike action
Unionized staff at Kootenay Savings Credit Union have voted 94% in favour of job action, said Jeff Bromley of the United Steelworkers Locals 9705 and 1-405 in a media release Wednesday.
Bromley said the vote came after 17 days of negotiations during the past six months.
Bromley said the key sticking points remain the employer’s insistence on deleting long-standing language that is protective of KSCU employee’s pension; hours of work for the new Member Service Center; limiting of member health benefits and no wage increase for two years.
“This was an issue in the last round of bargaining in 2011,” said USW Staff Rep and lead negotiator Dean Lott of the pension language issue.
“This issue was arbitrated by Vince Ready and he found in favour of the Union. We’re not prepared to give that language up.”
Lott said the union understands the financial pressures put upon this employer and other Credit Unions in the region due to the current low-interest rate environment.
But that being said Lott said members are doing more and more with less.
“They (KSCU) have cut costs by shaving positions and not replacing people when they leave or retire and distributing the duties to the remaining members who struggle to keep up,” Lott said.
“But they do, and by the looks of the balance sheet – KSCU made $2.3 million in 2015 – our members are doing a great job.”
“The strike vote is a strong message to the employer: our members are doing their part and they deserve better.”
Lott said USW Bargaining committee remains committed to achieving a fair collective agreement prior to any job action and has agreed with the employer to involve a provincial mediator from the Labour Relations Branch of BC.
Those meeting dates are to be scheduled in the very near future.
The United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9705 (Trail) and USW Local 1-405 (Cranbrook) represent 110 employees at KSCU branches and offices in Trail, Fruitvale, Castlegar, Salmo, South Slocan, Kaslo and Kimberley.