PEI government closer to sell-off of public golf courses with lease to private company.
Charlottetown (02 May 2016) — The PEI Union of Public Sector Employees (PEI UPSE/NUPGE) calls on the government of Prince Edward Island to respect the consultation process outlined in the collective agreement between PEI UPSE/NUPGE and the province.
PEI government blindsides union with Mill River privatization deal
The PEI government announcement on April 28 that Mill River golf course, fun park and campground will be leased to a private company was a complete surprise to Karen Jackson, PEI UPSE President. The Minister of Economic Development and Tourism indicated in the media that government has been working on this deal for some time.
“That means the government had ample time to consult with the union that represents these members, so we could ensure that their rights under the collective agreement are protected.” said Jackson.
The government has been trying to sell the four provincially owned golf courses for more than a decade. The Mill River facilities have been leased to Don McDougall, who grew up in Bloomfield, P.E.I., and has been credited as the person who brought the Blue Jays to Toronto while he was president of the Labatt Brewing Company. According to the Guardian newspaper, "McDougall's private company, MRRI, will operate the three provincially owned attractions in Woodstock for the next year and will receive $400,000 from government to do so."
PEI government ignored consultation process laid out in collective agreement
President Jackson has worked hard to establish good relations with government. “Since I began my presidency of PEI UPSE/NUPGE last December, I have worked stridently to maintain communications and protocols between our union and government. I believe in consultation and the benefit of face-to-face discussion and personal relationships,” added Jackson.
PEI UPSE/NUPGE members who work at the Mill River facilities are not merely assets of a business operation. They were not given the opportunity to be represented by their union and ensure that their rights under the collective agreement are protected. Consultation between PEI UPSE/NUPGE and the government is an integral part of the process laid out in the collective agreement.
PEI UPSE/NUPGE is committed to work with government to ensure that the members continue to provide valuable services to Islanders.
What happens at the end of the one-year lease?
According to the CBC, the Tourism Minister has said that the affected workers will remain provincial employees, at the same wages and with the same conditions. The question on many minds is what happens once the lease is up? If the private company purchases the facilities, what happens to the workers? PEI UPSE/NUPGE is still waiting for answers.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE