Kootenay Savings staff vote to strike

The United Steelworkers say pension language protection and the lack of a wage increase are the biggest stumbling blocks.

Kootenay Savings Credit Union is headed to mediation after employees voted 94 per cent in favour of a strike.

United Steelworkers locals 9705 and 1-405, which represents 110 employees at branches and offices in Salmo, South Slocan, Kaslo, Trail, Fruitvale, Castlegar, and Kimberley, said the move came after 17 days of contract negotiations over the past six months.

In a news release, the union said key sticking points remain pension language protection, hours of work for the new member service centre, limiting of member health benefits, and no wage increase for two years.

Pension language was an issue in the last round of bargaining in 2011, Steelworkers staff Rep and lead negotiator Dean Lott said: “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. 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.”

Lott said the credit union has cut costs by shaving positions and not replacing people when they leave or retire, distributing the duties to the remaining employees.

“The strike vote is a strong message to the employer: our members are doing their part and they deserve better.”

The sides are headed to mediation, with dates expected to be scheduled soon.

“Kootenay Savings will be making no comments during negotiations,” CEO Brent Tremblay said.

The Nakusp, New Denver, Radium, and Invermere branches are not unionized.

Just Posted

Public meeting Wednesday to discuss Cottonwood Lake logging

Concerned citizens have invited experts and politicians

Allison Girvan named Nelson’s 2019 cultural ambassador

Singer, performer, director, choral arranger has distinguished herself nationally

Free shuttle running at Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital

Parking and main access have been ongoing challenges since KBRH construction began in October

Snowfall warning issued for Kootenay passes

Up to 35 cm of snow expected Monday night and Tuesday.

Business Buzz: The Buzz is Back in Nelson

Bob Hall is a volunteer director on the Nelson District Chamber of Commerce. His column appears in the Nelson Star once a month.

VIDEO: Ex-NASA engineer pranks mail thieves with glitter bomb trap

Package thefts are common this time of year, but YouTuber Mark Rober used his engineering skills

FortisBC says you can return to normal gas use following pipeline fire

Utility says increased pipeline capacity, warmer weather have allowed supply to reach normal levels

CSIS collected info on peaceful groups, but only in pursuit of threats: watchdog

Security Intelligence Review Committee says fears unjustified after reviewing evidence, testimony

Canada ranks 16th on annual gender gap list

This is the second year Canada has placed 16th in the World Economic Forum’s list

VIDEO: Tornado rips through city west of Seattle

Reports indicate five to seven homes damaged in Port Orchard, Wash.

Trial date postponed for man charged with killing Abbotsford police officer

Oscar Arfmann’s trial pushed back from January to May 2019

Privacy watchdog says legal cannabis buyers should use cash, not credit

Some countries could bar entry to individuals if they know they have purchased cannabis

‘A start:’ Alberta critical of Ottawa’s $1.6B package for ailing energy sector

A further $150 million is to be used for clean growth and infrastructure projects

New B.C. Lions coach DeVone Claybrooks adds eight to coaching staff

DeVone Claybrooks has filled out his staff for the 2019 season

Most Read