North Shore Winter Club dispute drags on

Mediation between the club and CUPE 389 fails

After seven months on the picket line mediation between CUPE Local 389 and the North Shore Winter Club (NSWC) has failed. The union says the club has proven it has no desire to end the longest ongoing labour dispute in British Columbia.

Sixteen employees, all members of CUPE Local 389, were locked out of the club on May 3, 2013. They work as building service workers, maintenance workers, iceman and stationary equipment operators and are responsible for handling dangerous chemicals used at the club, including ammonia and chlorine.

Mediation talks took place on Dec. 2, but the club came to the table with its most insulting offer yet, said CUPE national representative John Strohmaier.

“The union was cautiously optimistic that we would be able to reach an agreement this week and we are disappointed that the NSWC has decided to continue this senseless lockout,” Strohmaier said. “We trimmed our package down considerably and were ready to negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement. With the package they presented the NSWC made it clear that they didn’t have those same intentions.”

According to the union, the club plans to cut half of unionized employees and contract out their work. Negotiations concerning hours of work and benefits have also caused conflict between the two parties.

“The North Shore Winter Club is offering less and less to employees who have been locked out for seven months,” Strohmaier said. “We were hopeful that the new board of directors elected in September would seek a resolution to this dispute. Unfortunately this board is just as aggressive and hostile to its employees.”

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