East Coast Credit Union reaches tentative agreement

HALIFAX: Following several months of contract negotiations a mutually satisfactory agreement between East Coast Credit Union (East Coast) and Unifor Local 2107 was reached on Thursday.

The tentative agreement announced will cover 44 full and part-time workers at three Credit Union branches in, Antigonish, New Glasgow and St. Andrew’s.

While the union and the employer averted a legal strike position, members will now vote on this tentative agreement, which is being recommended unanimously by Unifor’s chief negotiator, Linda McNeil.

No terms of the tentative agreement will be disclosed until it’s presented in detail to the members for ratification.

Ken Shea, President and CEO of East Coast, said he’s very pleased the parties have reached a tentative agreement.

“East Coast values and respects all our employees and has been committed to reaching a fair and reasonable agreement so that our focus can remain on what we do best,” he said. “Providing excellent service and financial products to our members.”

Natalie Clancy, Unifor’s Director of Communications, advised  The Reporter  on Friday, until the members of the union have been advised and a ratification vote has taken place, they won’t be able to comment.

On July 19, a provincial conciliator with the Department of Labour filed a report to the minister, which started a countdown to August 2 – the legal strike position for the employer and Unifor Local 2107.

The mostly-female workforce, are dedicated employees who take pride in working for a community organization that puts people over profits.

In a letter addressed to Nova Scotians on July 30, Unifor suggested East Coast wasn’t taking this approach during the latest rounds of contract talks with their workers.

The negotiations have centered on East Coast’s highly controversial decision to scrap the defined benefit pension plan to replace it with a less secure plan.

“This is not what was said at the time of amalgamation when workers were promised that the new credit union would honour all employment obligations,” the letter said. “Now a mere two-and-a-half-years later the credit union wants to push employees into a pension plan that will not guarantee an adequate retirement.”

Clancy noted Unifor can expect a decision made by August 14.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.