USW and Kootenay Savings ratify new agreement
Following 12 months of bargaining and a 27-day labour dispute, the unionized staff at Kootenay Savings Credit Union (KSCU) have ratified a new four-year collective agreement by a majority vote of the 110 United Steelworkers (USW) members at KSCU.
The ratification vote ends a contentious month-long dispute that began October 28 when the employer locked-out their employees. The ratified agreement contains wage and benefit improvements for the USW members but more importantly, shores up the protective pension language in the collective agreement while also providing some certainty for the employer by capping their liability.
“We returned to the table on Tuesday and the employer came back with a clear change in the approach to resolving the pension issue,” said Dean Lott, USW Staff Rep and lead negotiator for the union. “Their offer of a minimum annual contribution of $200,000 to cover any potential shortfall if pension changes were made gave our members comfort that their pension level would be protected while at the same time giving the employer certainty in their liability.”
“That’s if there are any changes made to the pension plan. If there isn’t, there’s no impact on the employer or our members,” he said.
With provincial mediator Dave Schaub’s assistance, once the pension issue was agreed-to late Tuesday night, the other outstanding issues fell into place on Wednesday. At two ratification meetings in Trail and Kimberley on Friday, the new agreement was ratified, ending the dispute.
“On behalf of our entire Board of Directors and Senior Management Team, I am extremely pleased that both bargaining teams came together and worked diligently this past week to arrive at an agreement that was able to be fully supported by both parties,” said Kootenay Savings President & CEO Brent Tremblay.
“We understand this labour dispute has been disruptive and unsettling for some of our members, and created challenging circumstances for all of our valued employees. It is absolutely our priority to have our staff return to their regular positions, with a continued commitment to take ownership for meeting our members’ financial needs. As a member‐owned community credit union, our primary focus is to provide access to exceptional service and financial advice through a variety of delivery channels.”
Unionized employees will return to work the morning of Wednesday, November 30, and all unionized branches will resume regular operations at 12:30 p.m. that afternoon.
Details of the new agreement include: $1,000 lump sum in Year one; $1,000 lump sum in Year two; 1.5% wage increase in Year three and two per cent in Year four; with the four-year agreement expiring December 31, 2019.
A resolution of the Pension Protection Language issue Improved Vision Care benefit to $300/bi-annually Increased Heath Care Spending Account to $500/annually Increased Paramedical Benefits from $200 to $500 annually but capping massage to $500 annually Improved Staff Banking Benefits No change to Hours of Work Return of third floater for full-time employees lost with the declaration of BC Family Day in 2013
The United Steelworkers (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.