Letter: It's time to send Westminster Savings Credit Union back to the bargaining table

The Editor,

We have banked at Westminster Savings Credit Union for the better part of 30 years. My children have also banked at Westminster. We have a great relationship with the staff and they have been more than helpful in many instances.

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The staff have been on strike since January. They have picketed outside in all kinds of weather, through snow, rain, sleet and scorching days. The staff is not striking for themselves but for the benefit of those who come after them.

Westminster Savings, I understand, is changing the pension plan so that any new members will not get the benefit of a satisfactory pension. The CEO and the administration personnel are availing themselves of the pension plan that they seek to deny to the frontline staff.

The Port Coquitlam Westminster Savings prides itself on being a contributing member of this community. This branch is not open, not because of the strikers but because of the management. They have locked the doors to members of the public, whom they purport to serve.

I am a union member and have been for more than 30 years. Credit unions were started by unions for the people and yet this administration is rewarding itself at the expense of the very people for whom the unions were designed. 

I think that we need look no further than our southern neighbours to see what that kind of thinking fosters.

Westminster Credit Union has now decided to close the PoCo branch permanently without any discussion, negotiation or meeting with the union personnel. They want to merge with another credit union in the fall. Anyone who banks at the Westminster Credit Union is a member and members have a vote on the merger. Voting No will perhaps force this credit union back to the bargaining table and fair pensions for all and not just the elite.

If this situation does not end with a positive outcome for the staff, we will unquestionably be forced to close our accounts with this credit union and take our business elsewhere as we cannot condone this behaviour. 

I urge all union members and other customers to vote No to the merger and, failing that, to change their banking institution to one that listens to staff and the community. Enough lip service from the one who was hired with the sole purpose of breaking their union.

Joanne Marr, Port Coquitlam

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