Penticton & South Okanagan News
CUPE: community impact
The Labour Relations Board has ordered the Centre at Naramata to stop using replacement workers during the strike.
Centre workers who belong to CUPE began a full strike on May 15, and according to the union, it became clear the church centre was trying to continue operations with workers other than centre managers, a violation of the labour code.
CUPE national representative Tom O'Leary said that the practice of undermining a strike is serious and CUPE is very disappointed that the centre would act in such bad faith.
He further noted that as part of the Labour Board hearing, the centre has agreed to cancel events and bookings from May 25 onward.
"The union hopes that the centre will now focus on a shared solution with its unionized employees to address its long term financial challenges," he said.
In response, the centre issued this statement:
"CUPE Local 608 filed a complaint against the Naramata Centre Society with the Labour Relations Board with a hearing that was scheduled for Monday, May 26.
We are pleased to advise that the hearing became unnecessary as the parties were able to resolve the complaint through agreement. We are also pleased that the consent order clarifies who can perform bargaining unit work during this labour disruption.
The union has since claimed that as part of the consent order, the centre agreed to cancel events and cease operations. This was not part of the agreed order.
The centre is cancelling events and suspending operations due to the union's decision to go on strike."
Jim Simpson, director of strategic partnerships and development for the centre, said this means that between now and June 30, 900 people would have been at the centre and that is not happening now.
He remains hopeful that a resolution can be reached and the centre will be able to resume operations.
People who own businesses in the village, are hopeful that will be the outcome.
"It's going to be hard on business people," said Brian Selwood, owner of the Naramata Store. "We are going to feel it at the store."
Angelo Albano, owner of Cafe Nevermatters, said "cancellations mean less people in Naramata. Less tourist dollars, simple as that."
CUPE 608 members provide a wide range of services to keep the guest accommodation facility running year-round.
At the core of the dispute is the centre's right to contract out, a right the centre has had in previous collective agreements.
The striking employees have claimed all along that they care deeply about the community and the centre.
They are planning a support rally and BBQ from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 31 at the centre.
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