I have worked with the Heritage Inn for almost 24 years and in that time, I have been on both sides of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA).
This is my story of recent events.
As a manager we were informed that all bargaining had come to an impasse. The company and union have been negotiating since 2019 and when negotiating, it’s always important for both sides to be fair. In saying this, the union wants fairness for employees while at no time does it run a business. The company want fairness for itself and its staff, in order to run its business.
If anyone has ever been on a negotiating team, you know that each side presents their list of items that they would like to address. It does not matter the size of the list. Not everything that is on the lists needs to be accepted, but it does need to be addressed. This does not seem to be the case this time. The union did not want to address the majority of the company’s list.
The biggest issue that the union members are claiming is benefits and wages. At no time has the company said that benefits and wages wouldn’t be addressed but this is what the union is trying to showcase because everyone has an opinion on this.
When we were informed that a lockout was going to happen our first question was “what does this mean?”. The company informed us that they were locking out the union, NOT the employees. All employees were given an offer letter of continued employment not an illegal contract as the union members are claiming because remember, no union = no CBA and therefore we are a company who is temporarily running as a non-unionized business.
When I gave my team their letters, I asked them to please read it over and take their time to make a decision. I informed them no matter what, I would (and still do) respect their choice.
By September 7th, all but 10 employees decided to continue working for the company. Some of the remaining employees have been working for 10 years or more. Our employees are from everywhere. Some have grown up in Moose Jaw and others that choose Canada as a new beginning.
Now comes the ugly part. A few of the people out front who are choosing to walk the line decided that they have a right to bully, name call and harass the people who choose to continue working, the delivery people and the customers who visit us. I read letters of and heard from customers and others of the way they were mistreated. I listened to voicemails that some employees have received from those on the picket line. Some messages are threatening their immigration status that they may have to leave this country because they are choosing to support a company that they love to work for. Other messages are saying that they will be FINED by the union for crossing the picket line.
Remember all people have the right to choose, so they should not be harassed or picked on for their choice. If an employee wants to continue working, that is their choice. If a customer would like to stay or do any type of business with us, this is also their right, so step aside because name calling and verbal abuse here is not bettering your position or gaining you any sympathy.
Using social media to hunt down and harass and discourage customers from carrying out their events is unacceptable and not helping your position. In order to continue to have a job with the Heritage Inn, you must have the customers. Continuing to harass customers is only helping yourself be put out of work permanently – in other words, no customers, no work.
So, for the people who feel the need to declare that they know best on social media and the picket line, just remember that every story has two sides. Before you are so quick to judge, try hearing both sides instead of just the one that you want to hear.
Executive Sous Chef
Heritage Inn Moose Jaw
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the position of this publication.