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Naramata Centre update

As of 8 a.m. Thursday morning, CUPE 608 workers at the Centre at Naramata began picketing on the street outside the building.

Tom O'Leary, CUPE national representative, said it was their intention to have the picket line set up through the centre's hours of operation on Thursday and that it will be ongoing.

"These employees care about Naramata, and they know many of the clients well. They take this step very seriously," he said. "Our members are hopeful that this will encourage the centre management to begin treating loyal employees as part of the solution, instead of the problem, in fixing long term financial challenges."

On Wednesday, the workers gave a thumbs down to the final offer from the employer. The vote was required by the Labour Relations Board and requested by the employer.

The centre issued a statement on the matter on Wednesday afternoon, after the vote. On Thursday, the doors remained open, with guests coming and going.

"As I'm now aware, they have withdrawn their full services and the picketing starts today," said Jim Simpson, the head of business development. "We remain hopeful they will find a good resolution. We are in business, clients are here and management is in place to support the clients that are here."

The workers were mostly in good spirits, with some expressing worries about the current situation and what it means for the community.

The signs they carried sent their main message. Among the statements were: "Contracting out won't fix dollar woes," "Has Naramata Centre lost its vision," and "it's not about my job, it's about right and wrong."

The workers provide a wide range of services to keep the guest accommodation facility running year round.

Centre management served notice of their intention to contract out a wide range of jobs in December 2013.

Bargaining began in early April, with contracting out as a key issue on the table.

The centre has been seeking solutions, after grappling with financial issues in recent years.




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