Thirty-four unionized workers represented by MoveUp started rotating job action at VantageOne Credit Union’s two Vernon locations Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. Workers are calling for basic job protection and fair security. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)

Thirty-four unionized workers represented by MoveUp started rotating job action at VantageOne Credit Union’s two Vernon locations Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. Workers are calling for basic job protection and fair security. (Jennifer Smith - Vernon Morning Star)

VantageOne open while Vernon workers on strike

Two branches previously closed due to job action have reopened

Vernon’s VantageOne Credit Union is back in business despite union workers walking the line.

Job action commenced Monday, Dec. 14 at the main branch on 32nd Street and the north end branch across from the Village Green Centre. The two offices closed for the day, but were back up and running Tuesday.

“Yes, we are currently under strike notice and the union has stated it will be rotating strikes but no definition on what this actually means,” CEO Glenn Benischek said. “The employer is prepared and able to operate the business either way at this time.”

Basic job protection and fair compensation is what the 34 unionized employees at VantageOne Credit Union locations are seeking.

“When the employer is steadfast in their refusal to include even the most basic job protection language, that should be setting off alarm bells in the entire community,” MoveUp vice-president Christy Slusarenko said, representing the unionized workers.

The head office on 32nd Street has been closed to the public since the start of the pandemic. The Okanagan Landing location has remained open as it is not a union branch.

VantageOne said it is very disappointed in the action as it has made every effort to conclude a collective agreement before Christmas.

“As a member owned financial institution, we greatly value our employees so it’s disappointing to see the action and how the union is characterizing the situation” CEO Glenn Benischek said.

Negotiations on a new collective agreement stalled the employer after refusal to include basic job protection language for bargaining unit work which is standard in most agreements, according to a MoveUp statement.

“We have seen this tactic in the banking sector of employers trying to get away with cutting jobs and opening the door to outsourcing work outside their communities and it is concerning because the people who get hurt are those who work, live and contribute to the community here in Vernon,” Slusarenko said.

READ MORE: VantageOne closes two Vernon banks due to strike action

The vote for strike action was unanimous among the 34 unionized employees at VantageOne after unanimously voting to reject the employer’s final offer.

The previous collective agreement between the union and employer expired Nov. 30, 2019.

“They (unionized workers) are also asking for fair improvements to wages and benefits that match their economic reality,” Slusarenko said. “They need good-paying jobs in order to keep up with the cost of living so they can afford to stay here in Vernon.”

VantageOne, which has been around for 76 years, also has locations in Armstrong and Peachland, which are not represented by the union.

“Out of about 60 employees total there’s roughly 30 managers,” MoveUp union representative Yudon Garie said while walking the line with employees Monday. “So very top heavy.”

Union members are concerned that their jobs are being eroded as managers take over their duties.

One employee also said: “We’re seeing jobs not replaced when they retire.”

In their fight for job security, the union members said they will picket as long as it takes for the employer to, “come back to us with something worth talking about,” Garie said.

READ MORE: Vernon restaurant feels the sting of COVID-19, closes dining


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BankingUnion wage deals

Just Posted

Fruit farmers in the Okanagan and Creston valleys are in desperate need of cherry harvesters amid COVID-19 work shortages. (Photo: Unsplash/Abigail Miller)
‘Desperate’ need for workers at Okanagan cherry farms

Fruit farmers are worried they’ll have to abandon crops due to COVID-19 work shortages

JAK's Liquor Store in Penticton will be donating 10 per cent of its sales on Saturday, June 19, to the Penticton Salvation Army Food Bank. (Photo from JAKS.com)
Stock up your liquor cabinet and support the Penticton food bank

Jak’s beer and wine store is donating a portion of sales to local food banks Saturday

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Over 5K jabbed at Interior Health mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics

The clinics have made stops in more than 40 communities since launching last week

The illegal open fire above Naramata continues to smoke on Friday, June 18. The fire was left to burn itself out by BC Wildfire. (Monique Tamminga - Western News)
Illegal open burn in Naramata will be left to smoke

BC Wildfire could not confirm whether the property owner had been fined

Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interior Health COVID-19 cases falling slower than the rest of B.C.

More than a third of provincial cases announced Thursday came from the Interior

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

Earls On Top at 211 Bernard Avenue in Kelowna. (Google Maps photo)
Downtown Kelowna’s Earls ordered closed after COVID-19 transmission

Earls on Top on Bernard Avenue will be closed from June 18 to June 27

A motorycle crash has been reported on Westside Road. (Google Maps)
UPDATE: Westside Road reopened following motorcycle crash near Vernon

AIM Roads advises drivers to expect delays due to congestion

(File photo)
Penticton not holding Canada Day activities out of respect for Indigenous people

Cities across B.C. are cancelling the holiday after an increased spotlight on Canada’s dark history

Dereck Donald Sears. (Contributed/Crimestoppers)
Murder charge laid in relation to suspicious Kelowna death

Dereck Donald Sears is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Darren Middleton

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Most Read