Credit Union strike ends

Andrew Zwicker
By Andrew Zwicker
April 14th, 2010

After two months of labour union action the Nelson Credit Union Strike officially came to and end on Monday April 12th when the Credit Union Management ratified a new agreement with the union.

The ratified deal was a result of United Steelworkers Local 1-405 voting just over 60% in support of accepting a deal that was initially rejected by the union last Tuesday. As reported in the Telegraph the employees and management got back to the table last Tuesday. In a marathon negotiation session that lasted late into the night, the two sides were still at an impasse when mediator Mark Atkins closed the session.Following that meeting, Steelworkers union rep Doug Singer decided it was in the best interest of his union members to give them the opportunity to vote on the latest proposal on the table when negotiations closed.

The Rossland and East Shore Branch members voted last Wednesday with the Nelson branch voting on Thursday. While not getting everything exactly the way they wanted it, the group was satisfied that all of their concerns were met in one fashion or another.

“We virtually addressed every issue that was important to us in this round of bargaining, as we said from day one, so all of the job security issues were addressed,” said union rep Doug Singer.

A release outlining the full terms of the deal will be made public later this week. The main issues addressed, however, were full time versus part time work, which came out of the Rossland branch’s request, new rules and guidelines around contracting out work, preserving benefits, family responsibility leave grievance procedures, travel pay grievances and severance pay in the event of a merger or acquisition of the credit union.

“Overall, we’re very pleased with the results,” added Singer.

While the strike is officially ended, Credit Union employees will not be back to work until Thursday “We have to now hammer out a return-to-work agreement; we’re in the process of doing that today (Tuesday) and trying to figure out how we do that and get back to work. Until that is done we will stay on the picket lines,” explained Singer.

“This agreement was completed today and the employees are being asked to return to work starting Thursday,” wrote Doug Stoddart of the Nelson District Credit Union in a press release. ” We do acknowledge the time and trouble that the labour disruption has caused many of our members, and on behalf of NDCU, we are pledging to return to our normal stellar service as quickly as possible.”

Aknowledging the fact that during the labour disruption many of their customers used alternate institutions Stoddart and the management of the credit union are taking steps to make amends.

“The Credit Union understands the impact this labour disruption has had on its membership. Many members have started to use competitor’s Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and been “dinged” a service fee. The Credit Union will refund all members’ service fees, charged by a competitor, for using their ATM during the labour disruption. In addition, the Credit Union will waive chequing account service fees for one month.” added Stoddart.

Getting back to 100% operations may take a few days for the Rossland branch. Employees will be back on hand Thursday however with operations ramping up from there.

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