Naramata CUPE workers on strike

Re: Naramata CUPE workers on strike

Postby cv23 » Aug 27th, 2014, 3:33 pm

southy wrote:Twobits and CV though your comments make sense, after reading the attached I am still somewhat confused with the stance Naramata Centre is taking. Why don't do they just fire everybody or give them a severance and say see ya later. They obviously have plans according to this article. Why would they keep the union hanging around??

http://northwood-united.org/news/naramata-centre-update



The Board discussed the key factors for sustainability and continued to endorse the concept of an intentional community of residents at the Centre.

Intentional Communities are basically communes. All those living in the intentional community share in the responsibilities of operating the community and its businesses as partners.
The church is just keeping the union on a string as backup in case they can't find enough investors/residents of the commune to operate the centre by themselves. The church no longer wants the union but under BC law must close the centre for two years to get rid of them. The exception would be if the "owners" operated the facility themselves and there were no employees.
Looks like both sides have tough roads ahead of them.
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Re: Naramata CUPE workers on strike

Postby twobits » Aug 27th, 2014, 4:21 pm

southy wrote:Twobits and CV though your comments make sense, after reading the attached I am still somewhat confused with the stance Naramata Centre is taking. Why don't do they just fire everybody or give them a severance and say see ya later. They obviously have plans according to this article. Why would they keep the union hanging around??

http://northwood-united.org/news/naramata-centre-update


The whole thing is confusing. And after reading that, I don't see an obvious plan emerging.....it seems more to be grasping at straws hoping for some saviour financing from????? A community, short or long term of spiritually minded people? Just what does that do and how does it generate revenues? From your link.....

While difficult for all, the strike is not the cause of the present troubles at the Centre - those causes lie far deeper. At its core, the Centre has been trying to operate in a financially unsustainable manner for decades where the costs of running and maintaining the operation and facilities were not being covered by the revenue earned by the Centre.

So, it seems quite obvious that the current business model does not work, nor has it for some 15 years. The fact that it borrowed money from the United Church to consolidate and pay of 1.5 million in mortgage as well as 500k in deferred maintenance says they have been to the bank to borrow to cover operational expenses and where able to do so on the strength of the land value. I would not be at all surprised if it was not their bank that precipitated this situation. Bank manager...."Sorry but we cannot provide further funds for a business operation that has been in a negative cash flow situation for 15 years"
If it is obvious to someone like myself with the limited information available, it would be prudent for CUPE to also acknowledge the obvious, accept the status quo that was offered, and be thankful they still have jobs vs. the alternative. The only logical thing I can see as to why CUPE is taking this stance, and I use the term logical loosely here, is that they believe the United Church so values this retreat that they are willing to subsidize it indefinitely. That is a bet I would not take with declining church attendance and revenues.
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Re: Naramata CUPE workers on strike

Postby fluffy » Aug 27th, 2014, 6:31 pm

But if the status quo has already been shown to be unsustainable then the intentional community approach might be their best option for survival. If I understand the concept correctly it would be similar to a monastery where there is some benefit to residents in the form of education or "enlightenment" in exchange for their supply of the work needed to keep the place functioning. Properly marketed within the church there could be a nearly inexhaustible supply of volunteers, especially with the aesthetics of the location.
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Re: Naramata CUPE workers on strike

Postby fluffy » Aug 27th, 2014, 6:44 pm

It's hard to offer any encouragement to the union members at this point. I can't shake the feeling that their national/provincial representation is using the members as pawns in a fight for exclusivity in this job place, especially when there's a good chance that this "principle worth fighting for" is being promoted by people with nothing to lose.
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Re: Naramata CUPE workers on strike

Postby twobits » Aug 27th, 2014, 7:13 pm

fluffy wrote:But if the status quo has already been shown to be unsustainable then the intentional community approach might be their best option for survival. If I understand the concept correctly it would be similar to a monastery where there is some benefit to residents in the form of education or "enlightenment" in exchange for their supply of the work needed to keep the place functioning. Properly marketed within the church there could be a nearly inexhaustible supply of volunteers, especially with the aesthetics of the location.


Ok, the light just went on. I never considered that from the article but that makes perfect sense for a future model for the property. It however does not bode well for CUPE as their services would obviously not be required and picketing would be fruitless.
Smaller scale for sure but an Electromotive example of a union slitting it's own throat.
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Re: Naramata CUPE workers on strike

Postby ToddT » Aug 27th, 2014, 8:58 pm

twobits wrote:Smaller scale for sure but an Electromotive example of a union slitting it's own throat.


Lol well you don't have to look very far for that in this province.
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Re: Naramata CUPE workers on strike

Postby southy » Aug 28th, 2014, 3:30 pm

fluffy wrote:But if the status quo has already been shown to be unsustainable then the intentional community approach might be their best option for survival. If I understand the concept correctly it would be similar to a monastery where there is some benefit to residents in the form of education or "enlightenment" in exchange for their supply of the work needed to keep the place functioning. Properly marketed within the church there could be a nearly inexhaustible supply of volunteers, especially with the aesthetics of the location.


Not sure I agree fluffy. If the intentional community approach is similar to a monastery as you say, there are two issues that jump out at me. 1. They still require a strong revenue stream to service management salary, expenses and infrastruture improvements, where does this money come from. 2. They have 23 acres of land - it will take more than a few spiritual types living in the commune to take care of it. Plus, they would require some knowledge of horticulture, electrical, plumbing, etc.

They don't have a nearly inexhaustible supply of volunteers - the United Church is losing people like crazy. Naramata Centre has also alienated a large number of former participants, so just can't see this flying.
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Re: Naramata CUPE workers on strike

Postby twobits » Aug 28th, 2014, 5:10 pm

Having lived here for going on 40 years, I always knew about the Naramata center, but never knew details of the property or what it had for buildings and infrastructure. For the very first time, I went to their website to fill in that blank spot. It is an amazing piece of property with some very nice and varied accommodations. I must confess that I do not know who or what they currently market to. The website doesn't even really make that clear. The only thing that becomes obvious very quickly is the "spiritual" emphasise. If they are pigeon holing themselves to the spiritual, renewal, general religious slant.....I can see how they might be having some cash flow problems. There are many who would disregard this place for either a fear of being preached to or judged for having a lifestyle that might include some indulgment in activities that would be frowned upon. If they are open to anyone, even some wine drinking tourists with kids and a boat looking for a beach.....then they have a managerial and marketing weakness. With the accommodations they have, the property and general amenities, servicing a debt of 2 million on such an asset should be easy.

ETA- And check out the posted rates for the accommodations. Dirt cheap. One quarter the price of even a yurt. If they will take a beer drinking old man, I will even spend a few weekends a summer out there just to get away from routine.
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Re: Naramata CUPE workers on strike

Postby fluffy » Aug 28th, 2014, 6:40 pm

Perhaps the monastery reference was misplaced, I meant it in a way that would apply only to the residential staff that could replace the more conventional staffing arrangement. The place would still operate as a host to the usual groups who have used it's facilities to date. You'd have to crunch the numbers to see if feeding and housing the new "staff" would represent a savings, there is also the loss of accommodations available to rent to consider as well. That's just the idea that came to mind as I read the release on the website.
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Re: Naramata CUPE workers on strike

Postby twobits » Aug 28th, 2014, 8:04 pm

fluffy wrote:Perhaps the monastery reference was misplaced, I meant it in a way that would apply only to the residential staff that could replace the more conventional staffing arrangement. The place would still operate as a host to the usual groups who have used it's facilities to date. You'd have to crunch the numbers to see if feeding and housing the new "staff" would represent a savings, there is also the loss of accommodations available to rent to consider as well. That's just the idea that came to mind as I read the release on the website.


Ok, I'll run with that after looking at their website and learning about their accommodations. They do have a dorm type facility that could accommodate staff. If anyone is familiar with the Glacier Park Lodge in the middle of Glacier National Park between Revelstoke and Golden.....that is exactly the model they run. Staff accommodated and fed, a salary that reflects that, and dorm like accommodation. Staff is everything between chef, to housekeeping to maintenance. BTW, staff makes huge $$ on tips which are shared universally and why they have little staff turnover and when someone wants to move on, a friend or relative is taking their place. The place is always humming with Euro and Japanese tourists year round. The tour buses are always parked there with these groups and they will also accommodate whomever stops in for a visit if they have room. They also heavily market to these groups. I know this because a good friend just sold it recently.
I see no reason that the Naramata Centre could not be something similar model wise. We have the summer season, wine season, ski season etc. Proper marketing and management is what is required.
Question is, are we talking about the viability of the Naramata Centre or the viability of CUPE jobs. Cuz if something doesn't change, it will be a real estate redevelopment plan on a piece of property that is probably close to 10 million in market value.
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Re: Naramata CUPE workers on strike

Postby southy » Aug 28th, 2014, 8:36 pm

I think you just answered it Twobits - 10 million in value. But I still don't get why they don't just pay these unionized workers out and do the deal. Maybe that's where get rid of management comes in. Just a tad confusing.
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Re: Naramata CUPE workers on strike

Postby cv23 » Aug 28th, 2014, 9:26 pm

southy wrote:I think you just answered it Twobits - 10 million in value. But I still don't get why they don't just pay these unionized workers out and do the deal. Maybe that's where get rid of management comes in. Just a tad confusing.


You can't just pay out the union, it doesn't work like that.
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Re: Naramata CUPE workers on strike

Postby fluffy » Aug 28th, 2014, 10:30 pm

It's not like the union employees are bound to the property. If the centre ceases to function the employees are entitled to whatever severance their contract and/or Labour Canada stipulates and that's it. A trickier situation would be if the United Church wants to continue to operate the centre in its current form but with a new staffing structure, which seems to be the direction they're heading by refusing to give up the right to contract out. It looks like the union members have seen the writing on the wall and are in survival mode.
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Re: Naramata CUPE workers on strike

Postby southy » Aug 29th, 2014, 9:24 am

fluffy wrote:It's not like the union employees are bound to the property. If the centre ceases to function the employees are entitled to whatever severance their contract and/or Labour Canada stipulates and that's it. A trickier situation would be if the United Church wants to continue to operate the centre in its current form but with a new staffing structure, which seems to be the direction they're heading by refusing to give up the right to contract out. It looks like the union members have seen the writing on the wall and are in survival mode.


Or the same could be said for the United Church and the Naramata Centre. Just saying.
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Re: Naramata CUPE workers on strike

Postby cv23 » Aug 29th, 2014, 10:35 am

Its a bit like getting herpes. It won't kill you but once you contract it you're stuck with it for life.

fluffy wrote: If the centre ceases to function the employees are entitled to whatever severance their contract and/or Labour Canada stipulates and that's it. A trickier situation would be if the United Church wants to continue to operate the centre in its current form but with a new staffing structure, which seems to be the direction they're heading by refusing to give up the right to contract out.


Death is the only way the host can rid itself of the virus, because as long as it lives it remains infected.
The virus doesn't kill as it too would die but simply feeds off it's host and causes it discomfort every so often.

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