Unionized workers at KSCU are going into Week 3 of a labour dispute over pension protection language.

Unionized workers at KSCU are going into Week 3 of a labour dispute over pension protection language.

KSCU UPDATE: Tentative agreement has been reached

There’s no end in sight to the dispute between Kootenay Savings and 110 unionized employees.

Update at 3:15 p.m. Thursday:

The pickets lines were down as promising news came from Kootenay Savings Credit Union (KSCU) and its unionized staff this week.

Both parties announced early Thursday that a provisional agreement was reached the day before. However, by Trail Times press time, both sides were staying silent on negotiated terms.

“We’ve reached a tentative agreement,” confirmed Jeff Bromley, United Steelworkers (USW) spokesperson. “(There are) still some things to get through, more details (will be available) as they come.”

Following a year of failed negotiations and work-to-rule job action in late October, KSCU held a one-day lockout on Oct. 28.

The credit union stated that union employees locked out that day, were expected to return for their next scheduled shift.

Instead, USW members hit the picket lines and remained there until late Wednesday.

As a result of the labour disruption, Fruitvale and Salmo branches have been closed since Nov. 1. Other affected locales in Trail, Castlegar, and South Slocan remained open weekdays but with reduced hours.

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

At stake, according to the union, was pension protection and lack of a wage increase for two years.

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Update Nov. 24, 10 a.m.

For immediate release:

KOOTENAY SAVINGS & UNITED STEELWORKERS REACH TENTATIVE AGREEMENT

On Wednesday, November 23 Kootenay Savings Credit Union and the United Steelworkers, Locals 9705 and 1-405 reached a tentative agreement.

Both parties will be recommending acceptance of the terms of this renewed collective agreement to their principals.

Once the agreement has been ratified, further details will be released.

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There’s no end in sight to the dispute between Kootenay Savings and 110 unionized employees.

Going into week three there is nothing scheduled in terms of talks between the two parties, says Jeff Bromley, United Steelworkers (USW) spokesperson.

“In discussions with the employer on Monday (Nov. 14) over benefit coverage, the union asked if there is any change to their position that would warrant a return to the table,” Bromley told the Trail Times.

“At this point the employer is responding that they are evaluating their position and looking at different options,” he clarified. “It was a pretty vague answer, so nothing is concrete yet as for returning to the bargaining table.”

In an email reply, President and CEO Brent Tremblay issued a statement to the Trail Times.

“We have communicated to the union that we are fully prepared to return to the bargaining table at any time and are absolutely willing to meet with them again,” said Tremblay.

He reminds members that core banking services remain available in Trail, Castlegar and Kimberly with reduced hours Monday to Friday, South Slocan Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And in Kaslo, the branch is now open one day a week (Wednesday) at reduced hours.

“Our online, mobile, phone banking and ATM services continue to be available for our members 24 hours a day,” Tremblay added. “We sincerely thank our members for their patience and continued loyalty.”

Following a year of failed negotiations and work-to-rule job action in late October, KSCU held a one-day lockout for union employees on Oct. 28.

In its announcement KSCU stated that those employees, who work in seven locations, including Trail, Castlegar, Fruitvale and Salmo, were expected to return for their next scheduled shift.

Instead, USW members hit the picket lines and have remained there ever since.

Bromley says the union is vigorously pursuing “multiple possible violations” of Section 68 (replacement workers) of the BC Labour Code. Those hearings are scheduled this week in Vancouver.

“We will have a statement following the decision of the LRB (Labour Relations Board) on those cases later this week, probably Friday, he added.

As the weather grows colder the union’s determinations grows stronger, Bromley said.

“The resolve of our members on the picket line at KSCU in the East and West Kootenays is strong,” he emphasized. “They are not prepared to sacrifice their language that protects their pensions, period.”

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