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 closes two Vernon banks due to strike action

Thirty-four unionized workers represented by MoveUp raise voices after rejecting credit union’s final offer

Workers on strike has forced two Vernon Credit Union branches to close its doors.

Basic job protection and fair compensation is what the 34 unionized employees at VantageOne Credit Union locations are seeking as they began rotating job action Monday, Dec. 14.

“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 north end branch (near Burger King) is closed, as well as the main branch on 32nd Street. But that branch has been closed to the public since the start of the pandemic. The Okanagan Landing location remains 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.

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: 3 calls in 3 nights for Vernon Search and Rescue

READ MORE: Spallumcheen woman thankful for new kidney


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

This historic photo is of Kelowna’s dance band ‘The Pettman Imperials’. 

The photo was shared to the Old Kelowna Facebook page by Ali Richardson whose grandfather Charles Pettman played drums in the band. 

While it’s unclear who is playing the saxophone, from the back the members are; Chas Buckland , Harold Pettman, Tiny Walrod. In the front is Carl Buckland, Charles Pettman and Kay Buckland. 

Harold and his brother Charles started the band in the 1930s, and played weekly at the Aquatic Club in City Park.
A look back at Kelowna’s past

The Pettman Imperials: Kelowna’s dance band circa 1930s

The students were told to think about a problem in their lives and what the solution to that problem could be. (Ashly Griffin)
Kelowna teacher brings creative learning to school during difficult time

Teacher Ashly Griffin wanted to take students’ mind off the pandemic

Esa Carriere, 23, was the victim of a 2018 Canada Day homicide. (File)
Youth sentenced in Kelowna Canada Day killing

Young woman pleaded guilty to lesser assault charge, sentenced to 15-month intensive support and supervision program

A rendering of UBC’s planned downtown Kelowna campus. (Contributed)
Kelowna’s new downtown campus to help alleviate UBCO’s space crunch

The sizable development is anticipated to be completed by the fall 2024 semester

The BC SPCA is adapting its fundraising after cancelling events due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
BC SPCA gets creative with fundraising as pandemic continues

The non-profit’s in-person fundraising events all had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to a single-vehicle rollover Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, after a vehicle came into contact with a pedestrian light pole at Kalamalka Lake Road and 14th Avenue. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Minor injuries in rollover after vehicle hits Vernon crosswalk pole

The vehicle flipped onto its side, closing Kalamalka Lake Road

Penticton city council heard from Dhorea Ramanula, of Paid Employment for People with Lived Experiences Tuesday, Jan. 19. Ramanula’s organization has operated public washrooms in Kelowna staffed by community support workers since April, she says Penticton could benefit from a similar facility. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Penticton interested in new public washroom concept to combat vandalism

Public washrooms with on-site support staff have been operating in Kelowna since April

Canada Post had remove a lot of letter boxes around Penticton after they were vandalized. This letter box at the United Church on Main St. remains unscathed. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Street mailbox vandals strike Penticton drop boxes

Canada Post had to remove a bunch of the vandalized units

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vernon's Noric House long-term care facility is dealing with an influenza outbreak amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (File photo)
Two more deaths at Vernon care home

Noric House case numbers remain steady, but death toll rises

Most Read