Work stoppage looms at Kootenay Savings

If we're locked out, we're not going back, Steelworkers say

If they lock us out, don’t expect our members back to work on Monday morning. That’s the message from Jeff Bromley of the United Steelworkers regarding the one day lock out notice Kootenay Savings Credit Union issued on Wednesday this week.

Both parties were in a legal strike/lock out position as of Friday, October 21, and three days of last minute negotiations failed this week.

By Tuesday of this week, union members had begun some job action, consisting mainly of handing out pamphlets and not working overtime, Bromley told the Bulletin.

At that point, Kootenay Savings announced a one-day lock out this Friday. The branches affected, those in Trail, Castlegar, Fruitvale, Salmo, South Slocan, Kaslo and Kimberley, were to be closed on Friday.

“I assume that’s in response to our job actions,” Bromely said Thursday. “But if they lock us out, we’re locked out.”

Calling it a one day lock out is simply semantics, he said.

“When one party decides to lock the doors, you can call it a one day lock out if you want, but we have the right to say we’re done.”

Bromley says when a lock out occurs, or a strike for that matter, the terms of the collective agreement are changed. Picket lines will be up at branches on Friday and continue next week, he said.

Brent Tremblay, President and CEO of Kootenay Savings, said that if union members don’t return to work Monday, that would be considered a strike.

“We announced a one day lock out,” he said. “If they don’t return on Monday, that is a strike. However we have contingency plans. If that is the case, the Kimberley branch will be open with reduced hours.”

More information on what services will be available will be published in local media next week, Tremblay said.

At this point there are no more talks scheduled.

“We’ve said we’re willing to talk and so have they,” Bromley said. “But there’s not much else to talk about unless they are willing to change on the pension language. There are no talks scheduled.”