Unionized grounds maintenance staff at Quilchena Golf and Country Club are hoping to get back to the negotiating table soon after management served them with lock out notice early Monday morning.
A total of 19 workers, most of them part time, were surprised at the job action notice after spending just nine days of combined mediation and bargaining.
“We showed up to work yesterday morning and the superintendent came out and told us it’s official that we’ve been locked out,” said Dan Morris who has worked at Quilchena since March of 1976.
Strike pay amounts to just a small portion of the workers’ take home, so they are hoping for a speedy resolution.
“Hopefully, it’s not too long,” Morris said. “Hopefully we can get them (employer) back to the table.”
Sung Wong, who is representing the CUPE Local 4964 members said the lock out action is hard to understand given the good relationship the workers have had in the past with the club’s management and executive members.
“They’ve helped out in the past, this club, whenever they’ve had financial difficulties,” Wong said, referring to the workers accepting layoffs and reduced hours. “It’s been little steps here and there to help out where they can.”
During the current negotiations, Wong said the club had offered a zero increase in wages over a four-year term and wanted to address language in the contract regarding changes to job security, vacation and overtime.
Regarding the wage freeze, Wong claimed the club has been free-spending when it comes to hiring consultants and sending its own management team on trips to Arizona and Ontario.
“Yet, they want to lock us out and want to give zeros to the employees. That’s just not right,” he said, adding the management is using bully tactics to “starve the employees out of income” and push them into accepting an inferior collective agreement.
“It’s them trying to break the union and break the spirit of the workers.”
Calls to the management at Quilchena Golf and Country Club were not returned in time to meet the News’ deadline.