KSCU, union remain apart on issues

Unionized workers at Kootenay Savings Credit Union are in a legal position to go on strike any day, after common ground on a new collective agreement couldn’t be reached last week.

Unionized workers could walk off the job

Unionized workers at Kootenay Savings Credit Union are in a legal position to go on strike any day, after common ground on a new collective agreement couldn’t be reached last week.

“We really don’t know what to expect,” said credit union president Brent Tremblay when contacted Sunday.

The credit union received notice last week that a strike could be on the horizon; this after a vote to strike was cast in January by the members of United Steelworkers Locals 9705 and 1-405.

Ninety-three per cent decided they’d support a strike – with 82 per cent of the 150 union employees turning out for the vote.

The company and the union met last Thursday and Friday to try and resolve their differences, which are largely monetary.

“The most significant issue still remains the pension plan and a new twist to all this is the company’s now applied to the labour board for a last offer vote and we’re awaiting details from the labour board to try to find out when it will take place,” explained union president Chuck Macklon.

Meanwhile an arbitrator was brought in to examine whether Kootenay Savings is responsible for changes made to the pension plan last year, which include increasing the retirement age to 62 years old from 60 and an adjustment to contribution levels.

This change was made by a board of trustees which governs the B.C. Credit Union Employees Pension Plan, and deals with approximately 30 credit unions.

“We will be waiting for several weeks for that result,” said Macklon, adding that the provincial arbitrator interpreting the language in the contract will make a binding decision.

The nine credit union branches that could be impacted by this dispute are located in Warfield, Trail, Waneta, Fruitvale, Salmo, South Slocan, Castlegar, Kaslo and Kimberley.

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