Hotel union under new leadership, eyes Baha Mar

Hotel union under new leadership, eyes Baha Mar
Darrin Woods

First on the agenda for the newly-elected executive team of the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU), is to engage officials of the billion-dollar Baha Mar Resort to gain union recognition.

Darren Woods, who has been named the unofficial president in a landslide win on Wednesday, told Eyewitness News, that increase in membership is critical.

“Well, for us, the property we are going to be eyeing will be the new kids on the block (Baha Mar),” Woods said.

“We don’t believe our brothers and sisters on the far north east of the island should be under this umbrella so that the rain can’t fall on them. And our brothers and sisters from the far south west are out in the rain. So, there are going to be some concentrated effort on those properties.”

Additionally, Woods said,  other properties in Exuma are also being targeted for unionisation.

Baha Mar officials have not publicly addressed the issue of unions, and under new ownership, talks are said to have yet to commence.

“We are going to be branching out again to really bring more members in because that is an intricate part of what we do here,” he said.

“The only way that we get our resources is from dues. So, we want to be able to offer members good benefits so they will be attracted to the organization.”

Woods said that negotiating a master contract for hotel workers is also paramount.

“We won’t be able to say to our members we will get you 20 per cent because, we can’t guarantee what we will be getting from someone on the other side,” he explained.

“We will guarantee to get the members the best deal that we can. We will take into consideration the cost of living between 2013 and 2018. We will take into consideration value-added tax (VAT) and the possibility of the implementation of the cost associated with National Health Insurance (NHI).”

Woods added that his team plans to put together a team of experts to ensure a proper agreement is presented to the membership.