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Centre's strike take toll on community and local businesses

The 30 unionized workers at the Centre at Naramata went on strike on Thursday, May 15, 2014 after rejecting the employers last offer.
Image Credit: CUPE 608
June 19, 2014 - 4:24 PM

PENTICTON — Naramata’s local economy will take a hit this summer while the community’s largest organization is on strike.

Last week, the administration of the Centre at Naramata decided to pull the plug in summer programming, in order to prove their striking efforts were serious.

Employees have been standing on the picket line since May, hoping for a negotiation. Directors of the nearly-bankrupt organization, planned to contract out jobs over the next couple of years, including contracting out kitchen services to local businesses, said CUPE member Tom O’Leary.

“Summer’s our big time of year,” said Jim Simpson, director of strategic partnership and development at the Centre. He said he is hugely concerned about the economic toll the strike is having, and will have on the Centre. But while the decision to make the call was tough, he said it was also necessary.

He estimated the Centre will lose $600,000 to $700,000 between July and August, as a result of cutting programs and closing doors to special events.

Not only are the employees losing work and pay, but the community is also suffering, Simpson said.

The Centre’s temporary closure “takes a lot of tourism away from the village,” said Angelo Albano, owner of Cafe Nevermatters. “It’s a big drawback for everybody.”

While Albano did not partner with the Centre, the tourists it attracted were great for his business. And with the Centre closed this summer, he will lose a lot of business.

Strikers are determined to stay on the picket line until a deal is reached with upper management.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Meaghan Archer at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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