Golf club locks out groundskeepers

Management at Quilchena Golf and Country Club locked out its employees responsible for the maintenance of the grounds at the West Richmond club on Tuesday morning.

The lockout impacts 19 CUPE 4964 members, and comes “after only nine days of combined mediation and bargaining,” the union said in a press release.

“We are extremely disappointed in the position management has taken throughout this round of negotiations. Rather than try to negotiate a solution, or continue to use the services of the mediator, the employer has chosen to lockout its employees and cut off negotiation talks,” said CUPE national representative Sung Wong. “We recognize that the employer is facing financial pressures which is why many of our proposals have focused on improved working conditions for members. This lockout is a strategy the employer is using to try and force members to accept a sub-par agreement and members are not prepared to do this.”

Wong said the union has asked management to return to the negotiating table four times.

The last offer from management was “overwhelmingly rejected,” he said.

While management has suggested it’s having financial trouble, Wong noted that for the first time, the club has hired both a lawyer and a consultant.

Wong said members are seeking better contract language for job security, and to ensure transparency and fairness, including the process of job promotions.

Management sees the proposed language as “obstructive” he said.

“Their proposals are seeking to expand management rights,” Wong said, adding that the proposed wording on the last offer, termed the final offer, would have eroded the union’s ability to grieve almost anything.

The impacted workers, who are currently picketing outside Quilchena’s gate, have up to 35 years experience.

“We’ll be picketing there daily. We’re asking the private golf members, if they want to respect the picket line, that’s great,” he said. “We’re more focusing on asking them to talk to the club’s executive and telling them to return to the table.”

Quilchena Golf and Country Club management could not be reached for comment.

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