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

South Okanagan West Kooteney MP Richard Cannings celebrated Robbie Burns Night with some haggis and local whiskey while watching the Penticton Scottish Festival society's TV series. (contributed)
Cannings celebrates Robbie Burns night with haggis and Oliver-based whiskey

Penticton Scottish Festival hosted a Robbie Burns night on Shaw TV

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

The Keremeos Grist Mill and Gards is preparing for another season of their Pantry Share program, distributing monthly packages with preserves like the one taken in the photo above. (Grist Mill Facebook)
Shares in heritage community garden program go on sale

The Grist Mill and Gardens in Keremeos is bringing back its Pantry Share for 2021

Expect cold weather and snow over the weekend. (Submitted photo)
Prepare for subzero weekend in South Okanagan

Expect some snow to start falling Saturday night and into Sunday

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Employers might be able to require COVID-19 vaccination from employees: B.C. lawyer

‘An employer must make the case’ using expert science, explains lawyer David Mardiros

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Auldin Maxwell stacks the 693rd block on the top of record-breaking Jenga tower on Nov. 29. (Submitted)
Salmon Arm boy rests world-record attempt on single Jenga brick

Auldin Maxwell, 12, is now officially a Guinness world record holder.

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

(Hal Brindley - Dreamstime)
Enderby farmers caught between coyotes and bylaw tickets

The Smith family is stuck in a Catch-22 between protecting their livestock and incurring noise complaints

A COVID-19 exposure has been confirmed at Black Mountain Elementary in Kelowna Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. (Google Image)
Another COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Kelowna school

Interior Health confirmed an exposure at Black Mountain Elementary School Saturday

Members of BCEHS Station 343 in Lake Country receive a donation of treats and wine from the community in December. (Contributed)
‘Unexpected and heartwarming’: Okanagan community supports paramedics

Cards, discounts, treats, more given to Lake Country paramedics in sign of support

Most Read