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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Premier Hotel on Summerland’s Main Street and the taxi were owned by Bill and Lydia Johnston. Today, the building is Sass Fashions in Summerland. H.S. Kenyon, who moved the building to Summerland from Midway, continued with building construction. His family now operates Greyback Construction. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Two former Summerland hotel buildings have been moved over the years

Transport of buildings is part of community’s history

Interior Health update. File photo.
86 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

The new deaths are from Heritage Square, a long-term care facility in Vernon

Caroline McKay
COLUMN: Bring books out of hibernation for the new year

Plenty of lesser-known works from famous authors available from the library

One Okanagan man bought and delivered enough food for 10 Christmas dinners for families and individuals in need. (Bruce Shouldice photo)
Okanagan man makes a difference at Christmas

Columnist Carole Fawcett shines light on Good Samaritan

The Peach is looking ready for its COVID Christmas. (Monique Tamminga/Black Press)
T’was the night before Christmas in the Okanagan

It’s true that this year has had sadness aplenty, we’ll never forget the year 2020

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

Most Read