BC Fed urges unions to withdraw Island Savings deposits to support striking workers

The B.C. Federation of Labour has urged its affiliated unions to follow the example of the United Steelworkers Local 1-80, which has withdrawn $500,000 of its funds from Island Savings Credit Union to show its support for members of Canadian Office and Professional Employees Union, Local 15 (COPE) on strike for a new contract.

In a letter to affiliates earlier this week, B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair said the withdrawals would be a signal to the employer that it must negotiate a new agreement with its workers. The strike, which began July 5, 2006, involves workers at four branches in Duncan, Mill Bay, Lake Cowichan and Shawnigan Lake.

"Despite paying nine percent increases to its Directors last year, the credit union has not seen fit to settle with its workers," Sinclair said. "Local 1-80 has withdrawn $500,000 from its accounts at Island Savings and deposited them in another unionized institution. The Federation is urging all its member unions to consider the same action."

COPE 15 is working with other unions on Vancouver Isalnd to step up picket action to increase pressure on Island Savings.