Trail, BC – Following 17 days of negotiations over the past six months and unable to achieve a fair collective agreement, the unionized staff represented by the United Steelworkers Locals 9705 and 1-405 at KSCU have voted 94 per cent in favour of job action.
A press release issued by the Steelworkers said the key sticking points are 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 Center; limiting of member health benefits and no wage increase for two years.”
“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,” Lott said. “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.
“The strike vote is a strong message to the employer: our members are doing their part and they deserve better.”
The United Steelworkers (USW) Local 9705 (Trail) and USW Local 1-405 (Cranbrook) represent 110 employees at KSCU branches and offices in Trail, Fruitvale, Castlegar, Salmo, South Slocan, Kaslo and Kimberley.
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 1200 workers in Sawmills, Pole Plants, Credit Unions, Insurance Services, Hotels, Ski Resorts and Municipal workers in the East and West Kootenays.