Responding to a story published Tuesday in the Trail Times, Kootenay Savings and Credit Union CEO and president Brent Tremblay said the company has not changed the terms and conditions of employment.
Tremblay issued the statement after Jeff Bromley, speaking on behalf of the United Steelworkers (USW) members, said the employer declared the collective agreement null and void and employees did not know what terms they would be returning to after the lockout.
After a one-day lockout by the employer on Friday, union members at Kootenay Savings announced they would not be returning to work until a deal is reached.
“I would like to set the record straight that Kootenay Savings has not changed the terms and conditions of employment existing under the expired collective agreement,” Tremblay stated.
“USW Bargaining Committee has stated, ‘The employer could reduce wages or benefits or strip employees’ right to the grievance procedure, among many, many other possibilities that we may not anticipate. They could do this at any time without an agreement in place. We would have no recourse but to strike.’”
“While the Credit Union could be in the position do this, we have not changed any clauses in our agreement,” Tremblay explained in the statement.
“As a business we are in the difficult position of needing to take steps beyond what we ever thought necessary to protect the sustainability of the organization. However, this should in no way be interpreted as a change to how we value our employees,” he added.
“Providing excellent member service remains our priority. To this end, we are grateful for the patience and continued loyalty of members, and acknowledge this is a difficult time for everyone.”