Gorham’s Employees Down Tools This Morning

July 11, 2019

[Written by Don Burgess]

[Updated] Gorham’s employees downed tools this morning.

A shop steward told Bernews that vision and dental benefits were taken away from the staff, which caused the walkout. Staff say they were not consulted about the cutbacks on benefits. They were told on June 26 that they would lose all their vision and dental coverage on July 1.

Staff walked out around 11:30am.

Gorham’s management declined to discuss the situation involving this morning’s walkout by staff.

A manager said the store is still open for business. Non-unionized employees are still on the job operating the registers. However, the unionized staff is picketing at both gates discouraging potential customers from entering the property.

A person walking the picket line said approximately 40 members of staff were unionized.

Around 1:20, Police Chief Inspector Robert Caldwell met with Gorham’s general manager about the unionized staff blocking the gates.

The chief inspector then had a discussion with union rep Arnold Smith, research officer at the Bermuda Industrial Union, told the workers they were not allowed to block the gate. Mr Smith asserted their rights to picket. He then informed the staff of walking a picket line back and forth rather than standing in just one place.

Mr Smith then had a discussion with the general manager as the workers continue to walk the line.

Update 9.50pm: BIU Assistant General Secretary, Bro. Graham Nesbitt confirmed that after an approximate four hour absence, staff returned to their duties this afternoon following a meeting which was held between representatives of the management and the union. Another meeting is planned for next week to discuss the benefits issue.

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Gotham’s Bermuda July 2019 (7)

Gotham’s Bermuda July 2019 (8)

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Comments (19)

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  1. question says:

    This is what happens when the government increases the cost of health insurance, just like they’re increasing the cost of everything else. You got what you voted for.

    • Onion Juice says:

      I guess ya gonna blame Govt, for the cost of a power drill that cost $600 and online cost $150.

      • Toodle-oo says:

        Then tell us why a car that retails for $23,500 in the US sells for $63,000 here ? Would , per chance , duty have anything to do with it ?

      • question says:

        As always, you talk utter crap.

    • Hudson says:

      Agreed. Gorhams’ could have handled this better for sure, but really this is largely attributable to the Government. The recent government decision to channel a portion of health premiums directly to themselves & BHB directly results in the insurer having to raise premiums to the end user (note yes insurers are in business as a service to the community, but the insurer also has to be able to pay their own staff and make a profit after claims). Let’s not forget that this raise in premium is 50% born by the employer as well as the employee. Company costs are excessive and profits are down due to a stagnant economy. Answer – cut benefits to cut costs. So to those that are picketing today, I feel your pain, but perhaps think about that the next time you are at the polling booth. Businesses cant stay in business when Government makes it too costly to do so, and you’re the ones that will be the most affected.

  2. JohnBoy says:

    Here we go blocking gates again.

  3. Paul says:

    We knew this was going to happen..the pressure that the Gov tried to put on the Insurance companies has back fired… but those elected will still get their full health benifits,Bermuda, we have a lot of problems that stir away from potential companies thinking of coming to the Isles of devils…….

  4. wahoo says:

    Not allowed to block gates! Just imagine that.

  5. gizajob says:

    Fire them all,plenty of Bermudians out of work.

  6. Hair says:

    They should be glad they have a job with good benefits.

  7. Onion Juice says:

    Non-Unionized workers recieve de benefits that Unionozed workers sacrifice for, PATHETIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Thank God for Organized Labour, without it some employers would have a field day.

    • Question says:

      The unionised workers are having their benefits cut because of the greedy evil PLP government.

    • CHRIS says:

      why shouldn’t workers anywhere get what they deserve? you are an angry person. try being kind. it’s easier.

  8. MM says:

    It would appear that a joint meeting between management, union, and insurance companies did not happen. The workers were most likely informed by email or a notice in their pay envelope. Do they have a right to block the gates , no..but they felt they had no recourse.. Now management are prepared to sit down and talk. Health costs are increasing all the time and it’s high time to have a commission of inquiry.

  9. Lone Wolf says:

    Gorhams customers should down tools as well. I was in there a couple of weeks ago to buy a new drill set. Had a question and went to an employee. He was having a conversation with someone who was obviously a friend. I waited patiently until he looked right at me a proceeded to carry on his conversation as if I didn’t exist. So I put the drill down in front of him and left. And I shall never return. Masters and SAL will now get all of my business. So please do carry on with your protest. It won’t bother me in the least.

  10. bluenose says:


  11. Observer says:

    Do protesters know that an entrance to a place of business cannot be completely blocked, a space has to be left for person to walk through without breaking the protest line. A business has to be able to operate.

  12. Sure-Hams says:

    Y’all entitled. I been working with no insurance because employer can’t afford. I was happy to have a job. You know what I did? Changed jobs. Seems like folks want to retire at the first job you ever had. Seems like a trend to stop improving your skills and qualifications and expect your employer to take care of you forever.