Kootenay Savings, Steelworkers reach tentative deal

Job action which began in October is over; both parties recommending ratification

PIcket lines at Kootenay Savings branches came down Friday as a tentative agreement was announced.

Picket lines are down in Kimberley and across the Kootenays as Kootenay Savings Credit Union and the United Steelworkers Local 9705 and 1-405 have reached a tentative agreement.

Jeff Bromley from the Steelworkers says he is pleased.

“It was a long battle,” he said Thursday morning. “It’s not over yet. There are still i’s to dot and t’s to cross but picket lines are coming down.”

While Bromley is reluctant to provide too much detail until the agreement is actually ratified, he did say there was movement on the pension language, which was the major issue.

Kootenay Savings CEO Brett Tremblay said there would be no comments on content of the tentative agreement until it was ratified.

“We are very relieved,” he said of the deal.

Bromley says the union got word Monday that Kootenay Savings was ready to go back to the table. Talks began Tuesday with a mediator, who luckily happened to be in Nelson on other business.

“We spent two days with the mediator who helped us move through all the outstanding issues,” Bromley said.

As for those who walked the picket lines, Bromley says there is some relief there but also some anger.

“They feel hurt and betrayed that they went down this path in the first place,” he said.

Ratification votes may come as early as Friday, November 25, and certainly by early next week. Tremblay said Friday votes would be a best case scenario as there was a lot to work out, but “the sooner, the better”.

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