Walking the line in Kimberley

Kootenay Savings union employees in second week of job action

Kootenay Savings union employees walk the picket line in Kimberley.

Kootenay Savings union employees walk the picket line in Kimberley.

Union employees of Kootenay Savings Credit Union are walking the picket line for the second week  — locked out according to employees, on strike according to the Kootenay Savings.

Jeff Bromley from Steelworkers 1-405 says the mood remains upbeat and resolve strong.

“The membership on the lines is really strong,” Bromley said. “The community support has been amazing. We continue to get horns honking, gift cards and food. They are staying strong and firm in their resolve.”

That resolve is that there be no change to pension language previously negotiated. Bromley says that without an indication that something has changed on the employer’s part, there is no reason to talk.

“Both parties have indicated publicly that they would return to the bargaining table but there are no talks scheduled,” he said.

He says he doubts anything will happen this week as it’s a short week with the Remembrance Day holiday.

“Talks are only going to happen if one party contacts another. There’s no point to that if nothing has changed. We will likely relay a message to the employer early next week to see if anything has changed.”

Bromley says that one thing the union is pursuing “vigorously” with the Labour Board is whether there has been a violation of code in terms of replacement workers. He expects hearings in Vancouver on that by next week.

In the mean time, entering the credit union does mean crossing a picket line and he says employees would prefer you didn’t.

“We don’t want anyone to cross the lines and urge you to use other credit unions where your transactions are free. Of course that’s easier to do in the West Kootenay. In Kimberley, you’d have to travel to Cranbrook to visit another credit union.

“However we do understand there are seniors who don’t have free transportation and would be charged fees if they used another bank here in Kimberley. If you are in that situation and have to cash a cheque or get your money out, we understand. We’ll hand out some pamphlets.

“But if it’s at all possible, don’t use the ATM or cross the picket line.”