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CUPE rally draws crowd

CUPE union members and supporters gathered outside of the Naramata Centre today to have a barbeque in support of striking workers.

The strike began on May 15, and is over the Centre's right to contract work out, a right they have had in previous collective agreements.

The barbecue was set to begin at 12 p.m. and by that time the sun was hot and there were already about 70 people carrying signs, taking pictures, sitting in the shade and waving at cars.

Jim Sinclair, with the BC Federation of Labour, said the Naramata Centre is about business, community and jobs.

"This place has been here for decades and decades, I came here 35 years ago for the first time," he said.  

"The right road is sitting down with these people and saying, 'it's all on the table - let's talk about how we can be here in five years.'"

Brenda Lende is the unit chair for CUPE 608 and has worked at the Naramata Centre since 2001. She said the dispute began around the time two contracts were awarded.

"One [contract] was for the gardener lady, and that was kind of valid because we've never done gardening, it's not been a union position," she said. "But the other one was for kitchen - they contracted out the kitchen."

"I make $14 an hour and we're not looking for more wages, we just want job security," she said.

National representative Tom O'Leary said some serious questions should be asked by the local community.

"Nobody, including their own Colliers International report has said that the workers and the union that are here is the issue," he said. "The issue is with the people running this place."

The Centre was not open for comment.



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