KSCU, union agree on tentative contract

Now terms go back to board and employees

If both the board and union members agree, Kootenay Savings Credit Union and the Steelworkers have themselves a deal.

“We are extremely pleased to have reached a tentative agreement after a challenging set of negotiations,” said president and CEO Brent Tremblay in a news release Wednesday.

“Both bargaining committees are to be commended for the professional and respectful way in which these negotiations have been carried         out.”

Details of the agreement will remain confidential until both    parties have had the opportunity to ratify        it but each side is unanimously recommending acceptance of the deal.

Tremblay told the Times the credit union is trying to arrange a board meeting for Friday morning or early next week.

Local 1-405 spokesperson Doug Singer, which represents the Kimberley branch, said if union members ratify the contract, the deal could be wrapped up by the end of next week.

The contract for Steelworkers Locals 9705 and 1-405 expired on Dec. 31 for branches in Warfield, Trail, Waneta, Fruitvale, Salmo, South Slocan, Castlegar, Kaslo and Kimberley.

The main area of concern has been cited as the lack of a long-term plan to compensate union members for changes made to the pension plan last year, which raised the retirement age to 62 from 60, increased employee contributions by 1.5 per cent and boosted the early retirement penalty to six per cent per year, from three.

The union filed strike notice in the first week of February, which gave its 150 workers the right to walk off the job at any time over a period of 60 days.

In its 42-year history, the unionized employees at Kootenay Savings have never gone on strike.