Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Credit union deal finally signed

read the full article by Greg Nesteroff - Nelson Star
A year after a strike ended at the Nelson and District Credit Union, unionized employees at last have a signed collective agreement.

It follows a ruling by the Labour Relations Board last Wednesday around contract language. Both sides agree it took too long to resolve.

“Most of the discussions involving the board shouldn’t have had to happen, but they did,” says Doug Singer, financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 1-405. “This has been a long, complicated process.”

Singer says although the agreement had not been finalized, the Credit Union followed its terms anyway, so workers weren’t shortchanged.

“They were applying the collective agreement, but it was a very unnecessary process,” he says. “It got dragged out. There weren’t a lot of logical or legitimate reasons that it took as long as it did.”

Credit union general manager Doug Stoddart says since the memorandum was reached last fall, “the union continually asked for changes. From management’s perspective we simply wanted to complete the process and get the new agreement registered with the labour board.”

The recent ruling granted one final language change and ordered both sides to sign the agreement.

The contract runs through May 31, 2013.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

NDCU AGM on Wednesday, April 20 at the Prestige

Almost a year to the day of when the strike ended the Collective Agreement has finally been signed at Nelson & District Credit Union. It was an arduous process to say the least but finally with the help of a decision from the Labour Relations Board that once again sided with the union on this matter the United Steelworkers Local 1-405 received the signed copy on Friday, April 15!! A sigh of relief went up throughout the staff when they received the news. It would be nice if this were the only issue the union has had to deal with since the whole ordeal of last year but they will continue doing what needs to be done.

Just a reminder about your input at the Annual General Meeting being held, Wednesday, April 20 at 7 p.m. at the Prestige Inn in Nelson.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Credit Union headed to arbitration

Nelson Star Updated: September 03, 2010 12:39 PM
More than four months after the strike at the Nelson and District Credit Union ended, an arbitration hearing has been scheduled over the proposed elimination of three positions.

“We’re extremely disappointed with this employer,” says Doug Singer, financial secretary of United Steelworkers Local 1-405. “We hoped after the strike we could work on improving our relationship.”

Instead, Singer says following the signing of the new collective agreement, they were notified the positions would be lost.

“They hadn’t indicated in any way previously that it was going to happen, so we filed some grievances.”

He says the positions include one in accounting, one in financial services at the East Shore branch, and one in operations dealing with point-of-sale machines.

The latter is “a contracting out issue, contrary to what we felt the employer indicated during bargaining... We asked if any restructuring was taking place, and understood there wasn’t. We made a lot of decisions based on that, and then found out after the fact they were looking at doing the exact opposite.”

Singer says it “goes to the issues of credibility, relationship, and trust. It’s contrary to the best interest of the credit union, employees, members, and community at large.”

Credit union general manager Doug Stoddart wasn’t willing to talk about the arbitration process or specifics of the changes, but said staffing is “dictated by member demand for products and services. The more members we have, the more products and services we have, the more staff we need.”

Stoddart says the changes haven’t yet taken effect, but are expected to soon.

“As per the collective agreement, we had to provide notice to the union, and there’s a period of time we have to discuss it with them. We’ve been going through that process all summer.”

He says they’re required to introduce chip technology in member cards to process transactions and prevent fraud.

“All our merchant terminals have to be brought up to speed to handle it,” he says. “It’s not something the credit union can do. The technology is beyond us.”

Meanwhile, they “see an opportunity to expand support to the business community, especially during these difficult economic times... It’s disappointing the Steelworkers don’t talk about the opportunities we’re creating. They just want to talk about changes that impact positions.”

The Steelworkers want to meet again with credit union management before the matter heads to arbitration, but Singer doesn’t hold out much hope for a resolution.

The hearing has been scheduled for November 8, 9, and 10 in Nelson. Lawyers for both sides will come from Vancouver to argue the case, and then the arbitrator is expected to take a few months to issue a decision.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The unionized staff of Nelson & District Credit Union would like to thank the members of Nelson, Rossland and the East Shore for their patience during the recent strike. We appreciated the support we received from the members, our families, friends, fellow union brothers and sisters and the community as they waved, honked, shouted encouragement and/or assisted us by donating so generously. The list below hopefully recognizes most of our supporters. We, no doubt have missed some and apologize for that, but we are no less grateful for everything we received.

Thank YOU!

Alan Brown, Alex Atamanenko, Annie’s Boutique, Barry O’Sullivan, Bean Here Now Consciousness Cafe, BCGEU, BC Nurses Union, Betty de Montigny, Burl Colins, Eddie-Jay, Ray Keen, IBEW Local 1003, Bill King, B & L Security, Bonnie Loeppky, Cam Jones, Canadian 2 For 1 Pizza, Canadian Postal Workers Union, Carpenters Union Local 2300, CMAW, Celeste Culpepper, Chace Kabatoff, Colleen Driscoll, Connie Crowder, Cottonwood Kitchens, CUPE Locals 339 & 748, Daija Currie, Photon Foods, Dan O’Bradovich, Dave & Tina Coletti, David Healey, David Livingston, Dean Renzie, Deb Weiland, Della McLeod, Dennis Munro & Frisco’s Steak & Fish House, Dollar Store - Fred, Dominique Huchet, Don Whitaker, Don Wilson & the UFCW, Doug Singer - USW Local 1-405, East Kootenay Labour Council, El Taco, Gil Gerhard Mayrhofer, Otter Transport, Glendale Tire- Pat, Grounded, Gwen Cavanaugh, Heritage Credit Union, Hospital Employees Union, Hume Hotel - Ryan, Dave & Sheila Martin, Jack Robertson, Jane Leeming, Jeff Mock - Silver King Soy, Jennifer Vecchio, Jesse Phillips, Jigsaws, Jon Meyer, Judy Fredericksen, Kathy Perlstrom, Ken & Jean Anderson, KIS staff, Klaus & Debby Offermann, Kootenay Coffee, Laura Spears, Leo’s Pizza, Lisa Markevich, Lois Nazaroff - AM Cedar, Mallards Sports - Dale Donaldson, Melissa Woodward, Michael Brewster, Michael Chapman, Michelle Bennett, Miriam & Greg Keyes, Mohan Bhabra, Nelson Civic Employees Union, Nelson Firefighters, Nelson Kootenay Electric - John, Niko Bekker, Oso Negro Coffee, Pam Guille, Pam St. Thomas, Paul Nedelec Jr. & Sr., Penny Aylward - UFCW, Phil Machnik, Rich Nelson - Frito Lay, Richard & Lauretta Wilsonn, Rick Bonderud, Regina Day, Robin Cherbo, Rod Sturtevant, Rose Nielsen, Selkirk College Faculty Association, Selkirk Student Union - David Lubbers, Sheila Haegedorn, Telecommunications Workers Union Local #4, Teresa Segstro, Twisted Tomato Pizza, United Steelworkers Union Local 9705, Vivi Lindsay, Waits News, West Kootenay Labour Council, West Kootenay Women’s Association -Marcia Braundy, Workers Compensation Board Employees Union - David Farrell

Sunday, May 2, 2010

showing support by honking the horn in the sidebar

During the strike the horn in the sidebar was honked 1374 times in March and another 1164 honks in April - more than 2500 times since the creation of this weblog. It says something about the cause when an individual sitting at a computer far from the picket line still tries to do something positive by playing an audio file to express support. I honked it a few times over the weeks; initially out of curiosity, later sometimes in frustration but mostly as a cheer of encouragement for the workers on the line - you must have also. The 4000 visits says something as well. Your support was always appreciated. Thanks.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Moving forward...

Well, the strike is over, and we're all trying to return to "normal" as quickly as we can. We can start to put the past couple of months behind us, and look forward to the future. What that looks like is hard to say. We're having a bumpy start.

In a perfect world, this whole situation could become a learning experience for both sides (of the table.) Something we'd all like to prevent from happening again.

Wouldn't it be something, if we could set an example to our Community, by all pulling together and make the NDCU's 60th year a positive memory... for everyone? With open, HONEST communications and respect? Happy staff, Members and Management? All working together to make our Credit Union a model, of how to take a bad situation, and turn it into something much better than it ever was? A lovely rainbow, after the storm.

Yah, I'm dreaming. There's a lot of work to do, and I sure don't have any easy answers.

I had hopes of this blog evolving into something more positive than just a reminder of where we ended up, (as a part of the history at the NDCU,). But there's many that would rather pretend it never happened. Is that the solution? Just sweep it under the rug, only to have the same problems creep up again?

I'm hoping there will be many positive posts to come, showing that changes have happened and that we are all moving forward.
Perhaps we should acknowledge the strike and keep it as a reminder of where we were, and where we hope not to end up again? Hmmm, only time will tell.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Gratitude and thank yous....

There are so many people who deserve to be acknowledged and praised, for helping us in so many ways, throughout this strike. It would be difficult to to list them all, (and there may be some who do not want their names publicized. )

We would like to say a heartfelt "Thank you!" to each person, business and group, that brought us: food, drinks, words of support, ideas, understanding, letters, donations, love, cheer, wisdom, patience, information, etc, etc, etc.

To everyone that helped us during the strike, (you know who you are,) please accept our sincerest gratitude - we thank you all!

To our negotiating team (Rick, Katie, Karol, and Robert) and our Union Financial Secretary (our leader) Doug Singer, each one deserves a hearty round of applause and a standing ovation for their hard work, on our behalf. Their unfailing dedication, tenacity, and efforts before, and during the strike, will be remembered for a long time. "Thank you" says so little, yet what else can we say?

Overall, we have proven ourselves to be a vibrant, professional and unified group. Working together we will continue to strengthen our ties.

We've also seen the true colours of our employer and are keenly aware that we will need to remain vigilant…

Progress was made, and for that we are grateful. We are proud of our team's efforts, unity and passion.

Our gratitude to our Members, friends, neighbours, businesses and groups is humbling, and we hope that your support will continue, at the AGM next week (April 27-7pm) and beyond.

In solidarity- The United Steel Magnolias.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Beyond the picket line...

As we've started to return to work, 6 staff (tellers & reception)-the 1st day -Thurs), most of the rest on Friday, and by Monday I think just about everyone should be back to work.
I hope our members will continue to show patience as we try to get things back to normal.
There's many things that have been left undone, piled up over the past 2 months, to be dealt with by returning staff.
(Also there were some needless things like certificates and personal photos removed from the wall, and boxes of files in another, while the reception area was in total disarray…just a couple of examples of our return to work conditions. ) Anyhow, there was no need for many things, (including the strike) and some things done were just mean.

I'm not saying we were angels (on the picket line). But we helped many people, even while we were outside on the street.
We didn't discourage or prevent people from doing their banking, and answered what questions we could, offered suggestions and options, to help our members during the difficult time.

Meanwhile, our employer was barricading themselves in the bank, posting our wages on the windows and allowing only one member in at a time for service (for most of the strike) and for very limited hours as their
"doorman", screened members before allowing them inside.

I was one of the "lucky" 6 that returned that 1st day back.
It was the 15th - a busy, stressful and long day.
I wasn't the only one with a pounding headache at the end of that day.

Our Employer neglected to advise the Newspaper that there was limited staff returning to work.
Many Members were so happy to be able to finally come in, and not have to cross a picket line.
Numerous people just stopped in to welcome us back, others were surprised to see our familiar faces, and for the whole day too!

However the long line-ups, with only 6 staff trying to serve them all was totally uncalled for and an unpleasant surprise.
(BTW-Management were in the Boardroom having a meeting MOST of the day... AFTER they'd done some work that should've been done by the staff they didn't call back in!)
Already breaking our agreement and continuing to divide us.
Still our members had to wait much longer than they should have.

I hope our members will remember this Strike , when they come to our AGM April 27 at 7pm at the Nelson Prestige.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Last blog from the picket line...

Our Employer has had MANY opportunities to show a little grace and goodwill towards their staff in the past 682 days. Even now, as we make arrangements to return to work, they refuse to be flexible.

We wanted/expected, to all return to work together. But NO. They won't budge on that either.

Note: Rather than prolong the situation, our team has (again) conceded to our Employer's demands.

Our employer wants only 6 staff from Nelson, 2 on the East shore, and 3 in Rossland. We've been trying to reason with our employer while they continue refusing to negotiate, dragging us through the media, keeping us waiting - endlessly, and always demanding, their way or the highway. Delaying progress at every opportunity, as well as deceiving us and the Members repeatedly.

Even today their Press Release is misleading. It says "… the employees are being asked to return to work starting Thursday."

They didn't say "the 6 employees" in Nelson, "the 2 employees" in Crawford Bay, nor "the 3 employees" in Rossland...

Our staff have shown ourselves to be professional, courteous and reasonable even under these most difficult of situations. Of this we can be proud. Yet they continue to build resentment, even now, in the final hours before we return to work.

Instead of trying to close the gaps between us, they're setting a poor atmosphere for us to return to.

NDCU strike officially ends after nearly two months

read the April 15 article by Colin Payne, Nelson Daily News:
The deal has been sealed and Nelson and District Credit Union (NDCU) staff will likely be heading back to work Thursday, after nearly two months on the picket line.

In a special board meeting on Monday night the NDCU board of directors unanimously agreed to approve an agreement with the United Steelworkers Union Local 1-405 that will send the employees it represents back to work.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

We are - The United Steel Magnolias

Brenda, her picket sign, and the button it inspired.
This photo was taken purposefully in front of the apparently contradictory NDCU slogan "Logically Locally".

letter to editor that NDN did not publish

The strike at the Nelson District Credit Union has given rise to a number of serious questions.
 • Does the strike have some overriding gender issues? The majority of the individuals walking the picket line are female. Conversely, the management working inside during the strike are mainly male. One wonders how many of the female workers are single mothers whose ability to withstand a lengthy strike are limited? Is the avoidance of the negotiating table a strategy to wear down the employees?
 • Why is the member elected board silent on the issues of the strike? The main spokesperson appears to be the manager who is an employee of the membership. As a member, I would like to hear from the elected Board which has a fiduciary responsibility to the membership.
 • What has happened to the mission statement which in part states:
” Through careful and ethical stewardship of our members’ resources, financial success is shared by members and communities that we so strongly support.
Realizing that change is constant, our ability is to manage, adapt and innovate is critical to achieving these goals”.
Change is constant and, therefore, one wonders why the Board is so hesitant to come to the table to discuss the outstanding issues. Is there resistance to change? How many Board members actually sit at the negotiating table? Who is driving the bus?
 • Research notes that highly successful and productive businesses have exemplary records in maintaining trust and respect for their employees. A good employee/employer relationship displays itself in loyalty and productivity. Leaving employees outside week after week without facilitating a resumption of the negotiating table gives an impression of a lack of trust and respect. What is the outcome that the Board and management hopes to achieve with a lengthy strike?
It is absolutely crucial that the parties come to the table and approach the contract discussions in a serious and mutually beneficial manner.
R.H. Day

It's all about control...

Yet another "last day" on the picket line.
We shouldn't be surprised.
Our Employer STILL feels the need to prove they have full control over us... now it's about the "back to work agreement."

(Remember our 1st day of strike? our employer wanted us to wear "Corporate wear"...ON THE PICKET LINE! They were very unhappy to learn that they cannot tell us what to wear... because we're on strike!)

For their last kick at the employees, they are insisting that only tellers and receptionists will report to work first, then the following day, the rest of the staff are to return to work.

It is important to us, as a group, to return to work...as a group, and they know that.

It's not enough that they forced us into this strike, refused to talk to us for 2 months, dragged us through the media... they are still pushing us around, by determining how/when we come back to work. We could have been back to work on April 9/10.

Certainly not the way a co-operative behaves,
and NOT the way towards healing the damage this
strike has caused.

So, here we are... still waiting.

NDCU staff continue strike as agreement is finalized

read full April 14 report by Colin Payne at Nelson Daily News
The picket signs are still up in front of the Nelson and District Credit Union (NDCU), as employees are waiting for the final details of their contract to be ironed out.

Workers voted by a margin of 60 per cent to accept a contract last week, after talks between United Steelworkers Local 1-405 representatives and NDCU management were called off because a final agreement could not be reached.

Picket lines were expected to be pulled down as early as Thursday after management had signed onto the contract.

But as of Tuesday NDCU staff were still walking the sidewalk in front of the Vernon Street building.

Credit Union staff vote to accept deal

read full April 13 article at Trail Rossland News
On Monday and Tuesday picketers continued to rally in front of the Nelson & District Credit Union, fully thinking they would have been back to work already.

“We voted, they should do the same,” says union representative Katie Kabatoff. “We were expecting to be back to work already, and here we are.”


also at Trail Rossland News NDCU needs long-term fix from strike