Commonwealth Union Hotel Services and Allied Workers at the school giveaway launch.
By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
THE Commonwealth Union Hotel Services and Allied Workers launched its back to school giveaway on Wednesday distributing backpacks, cases of juice, and bags of assorted snacks to its 400 members in Grand Bahama.
CUHSAW represents workers at the Grand Lucayan Resort, which is up for sale by way of a sealed bid auction. The 409-acre property, owned by the Hutchison Whampoa Group, has been on the market since January.
President Michelle Dorsett is optimistic about the sale and encouraged workers to remain focused and dedicated on the job while they await news of a buyer.
She said the union is very appreciative to its members for their support, even during these slow economic times in Grand Bahama.
“We wanted to assist them and show our appreciation to them with a back to school giveaway, “ Ms Dorsett said. “The economy now is slow and we want to give something back to our members who pay union dues.”
Ms Dorsett said that they also wanted to support local stores by purchasing the items from vendors in the Bahamas.
“We shopped at home and bought quality items from various local vendors in the country,” she said.
Anthony Nairn, general secretary, said the union is pleased to assist its members at this time when parents are preparing for the opening of school.
“Today is a good day for the union and for our members…and we want to let them know that we will help them as best we can, when we can,” he said.
The CUHSAW has been in negotiations with management for a new industrial contract, and there have been some challenges along the way.
Ms Dorsett said: “With all the ups and downs with the union and with what’s going on with the (sale of the) hotel, I just want members to go to work and be focused as we are doing our job by representing them.”
Ms Dorsett said the union, along with its legal advisor Trade Union Congress President Obie Ferguson, met with Prime Minister Perry Christie on August 17 concerning the sale of the Grand Lucayan Resort.
“Once the prime minister has done his part, an announcement will be made in short order. He spoke about Grand Bahama…and I am optimistic about it,” she said.
When asked whether a buyer has been identified, she declined to answer.
“I will leave that in the prime minister’s hands, and once Obie Ferguson receives word or confirmation of a buyer he will inform our members.”
Edris Lightbourne, room attendant, commended the union for what it is doing for the members.
“I think they are doing an excellent job; the economy is so bad right now and everyone will be thankful and appreciative for what they are doing.”
Silas Williams said he thought it was great that the union is giving back to the members.
“We have been supporting the union and right now everyone needs some assistance, and this back to school giveaway will really help us,” he said.
Inga Dean, chief shop steward, said this is the second consecutive year for the event. She thanked all the vendors, including Bahamas Office and School Supplies and Kelly’s in Nassau; and Best Variety Goods and Cost Right in Grand Bahama.