As it works throughnegotiations with its labor unions, The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., has seen several meeting cancellations. Most recently, the Council of Insurance Agents and Brokers, Washington, D.C., canceled its 1,500-attendee annual meeting planned for October at The Greenbrier. It will be the first time since 1913 that the association will not meet at the resort.
“We regret to announce that the Insurance Leadership Forum, which has been held at The Greenbrier Hotel for 94 years, will be moved to a new location in 2008 because of everyone’s inability to resolve their differences,” stated Ken Crerar, president of CIAB, in a press release. “[The] inertia in ending this dispute over the past several months has been agonizing to witness. With no signed contract in place, we are left with no choice but to move our meeting, which is only four short months away.” CIAB had informed the resort that it would cancel the meeting if the two sides hadn’t reached an agreement by June 2.
A new venue has not yet been selected. CIAB spokeswoman Cheryl Arvidson said it would be “premature to speculate” on whether the meeting will return to The Greenbrier for its 2009 meeting.
“We are disappointed that they decided to move their meeting, but understand their position,” said Lynn Swann, director of public relations at The Greenbrier. “The CIAB is a valued client, and we appreciate our longstanding relationship with them.”
Resort officials have been in contract negotiations with the Council of Labor Unions and the nine local unions who represent approximately two-thirds of their employees since the master agreement expired January 31. More bargaining sessions have been established for June, said Swann. Meanwhile, the union employees have chosen to work during contract negotiations, even though a strike has been authorized. Strike authorization does not mean a strike is imminent or scheduled, but that the union has the mechanism in place to strike if necessary. No picketing or demonstrations have occurred at the property, said Swann.
Greenbrier officials have informed all groups with meetings scheduled in the next 90 days of the situation. “We appreciate their business and hope to keep them as longtime clients and as such are keeping them informed of our ongoing negotiations,” she says. Some groups have held their meetings as scheduled, while others have decided to cancel because of the uncertainty.
“The Greenbrier will faithfully continue negotiations to achieve collective bargaining agreements and we look forward to completing successful negotiations,” said Swann.