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Posted: June 8, 2016

KSCU staff vote to strike

Unionized Kootenay Saving Credit Union (KSCU) staff have returned a 94% strike vote, citing a need for pension language protection and a zero per cent wage increase as the biggest stumbling blocks.

The strike vote by unionized staff represented by the United Steelworkers Locals 9705 and 1-405, follows 17 days of negotiations over the past six months, a USW press release outlined.

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 Centre’; limiting of member health benefits and no wage increase for two years, USW said.

“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.

“We understand the pressures put upon this employer and other credit unions in the region,” continued Lott. “In the current low-interest rate environment they are not making the money they used to. But that being said, our 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. 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.”

The 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 USW Local 9705 (Trail) and USW Local 1-405 (Cranbrook) represent 110 employees at KSCU branches and offices in Kimberley, Trail, Fruitvale, Castlegar, Salmo, South Slocan and Kaslo.

USW Local 9705 represents over 400 members including the Office and Technical Employees of Teck Operations in Trail; Kootenay Savings Credit Union; Red Mountain Resort; Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital/IHA, Kootenay Insurance Services, Sandman Inn in Castlegar and Waneta Plaza in Trail.

USW Local 1-405 based in Cranbrook is a diverse union representing over 1,200 workers in Sawmills, Pole Plants, Credit Unions, Insurance Services, Hotels, Ski Resorts and Municipal workers in the East and West Kootenay.


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