CUPE 391: Vancouver Library workers still on strike
Todd Wong is thanked by Donald Law – photo Sam King
Yesterday I met Donald Law while I was playing my accordion on the picket line. Donald came up to me and asked “Are you Todd Wong?”
He said I had been instrumental in helping direct him to the information to help his family apply for the Chinese Head Tax ex-gratia payments. I had directed Donald to the history division which holds a micro-fiche collection of Chinese head tax registrations, of which the Vancouver Public Library is one of the few institutions in Canada to have.
It’s people like Donald who understand how important having access to information is, and how the information that we provide helps their lives, that make working at the library so satisfying. We are proud of the jobs that we do at the library. I have worked for VPL for over thirty years… I love it.
We are disappointed with the labour negotiations for the library. Our union has told us that the library board finally presented us with their “opening offer” – 9 months after CUPE 391 submitted an offer back in Nov. ’06. In all the months since, they kept saying make something “more reasonable” without constructive guidelines.
Fellow Library Workers of CUPE 391, + CUPE 15 and 1004 city inside and
outside workers cheer on speakers at Friday’s rally at City Hall –
photo Todd Wong
Alex Youngberg speaking at the Friday August 10th rally at City Hall for Fairness for Civic Workers – photo Todd Wong
Friday, August 10, 2007
Today, the Bargaining Committee returned to the picket lines frustrated,
exhausted, but more resolved than ever to get a fair settlement. We are
extremely angry and frankly a bit horrified that the Employer and City
of Vancouver thinks that it is perfectly fine to waste thousands of tax
payers’ dollars on hotel rooms and countless hours of our time waiting
to finally start meaningful negotiations while our members are stuck on
the picket line and the public is unable to access library and city
Needless to say, after our return we were met with the most amazing
show of support yet for both our bargaining team and our key issues.
Everyone has been so amazing and we cannot thank you enough for the
warm welcome home and the incredible show support. As long as you are
behind us willing to fight for what is right, we will always be able to
find the strength to carry on.
Later today, we joined hundreds of members from CUPE 15, 391, 1004,
the HEU, and the Vancouver Fight Fighters Union, Local 18 at a rally at
City Hall to show our support and let everyone know that we want a fair
With so much solidarity out there from our members, other unions,
and the public it is unfathomable why the City is still continuing to
behave in such a non-constructive manner. Around the region
municipalities and unions are reaching fair agreements:
Richmond contract – ratified July 26
Delta contract – ratified August 1
Burnaby contact – ratified August 2
North Van contract – ratified August 4
Surrey contract – ratified August 7
So, what is the problem with our Employer and the City of Vancouver?
And where exactly does City Council and our Library Board stand on
getting a fair settlement?
The only thing that has been made clear to us is that the Employer
and the City have no interest in negotiating a fair collective
agreement at this time.
So, if we are to get a fair settlement any time soon we must more
than ever continue to be strong and encourage the public to contact
City Council to demand that a fair deal be reached immediately with all
When the City of Vancouver and Vancouver Public Library Board are
prepared to seriously address our issues, then CUPE 391 is prepared to
Early next week the Bargaining Committee with be meeting to
strategize the next steps. In the meantime, stay strong and check the
blog for more information.
Again you are heart, soul, and will behind us. Thank you for doing the right thing.
– Your Bargaining Committee