Heritage Credit Union workers agree to deal, avoid job action

Unionized staff of Heritage Credit Union and HG Insurance have accepted their employer’s latest offer, averting a strike.

Unionized staff of Heritage Credit Union and HG Insurance in Slocan Park and Castlegar have accepted their employer’s latest offer, averting a strike.

In a news release, United Steelworkers Local 1-405 called Monday night’s ratification vote on a new three-year deal “close and contentious.”

“The membership certainly didn’t embrace it but we’re a democratic organization and it was passed,” said Jeff Bromley, the union’s financial secretary and lead negotiator. He didn’t release the exact results of the vote.

Bromley said the offer included pension improvements, the sticking point in the dispute. “At the end of the day, a majority of the workers decided it was enough. However, it’s an issue that’s not going to go away.”

Staff were poised to walk out at both branches last Wednesday, but postponed job action when management came back with a new offer. Bromley said the bargaining committee didn’t feel the offer was good enough to recommend, but was at least worth sending to a vote.

Workers rejected management’s previous offer in two votes over the summer.