How I spent my summer and fall during the Vancouver library strike…What did I do on the picket line?
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1) July 26th Strike begins. 2) Day 9 – I got to know my co-workers better such as Roseanne and strike captain Peter deGroot. 3) I learned tai-chi taught by Tim Firth. 4) August 4- I
walked with our union in the Pride parade. 5) I bring my accordion down to the picket line. 6a) Day 15 We share food for our 1st potluck. 6b) Playing Trivial Pursuit with Matt and Rachel
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7) Knitting hats for the homeless – I take pictures of my co-workers Diana and Tanya. 8) Day 16 We go to City Hall for a rally. 9) I played music with my
co-worker Ross Bliss 10) Day 20 – I invited author Terry Glavin to speak. 11) Dr. Fred Bass, former City councillor gave words of support. 12) We engage the public – Donald works in the Federal Building, and he thanked me for work I did over a year ago on the information desk directing him to head tax documentation. 12b) I hang with fellow library working dragon boat paddlers Harvey and Connie.
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13) August 24, I invite Stan Persky to read. 14/15) We meet and welcome CUPE 15 members. 16) Aug 21, Day 34 I invite writer Tom Sandborn to come speak. 17) We initiate “Grandeur on Georgia” and wave to cars on Georgia St. 18) We initiate “Flying pickets” and go picket at different library sites spending 1 hr at each branch such as Hastings.
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19) Day 35 – I invite World Poetry to come read. 20) Aug 22 I invite Ellen Woodsworth, former city councillor to give words of support. 21) Globe & Mail reporter Laura Drake writes a story featuring James Gemmil and me. 22) Aug 23 Library workers picket with pizzazz appears in Globe & Mail. 24) Aug 23 I invite Chuck Davis to come speak. 24) We initiate “Grandeur on Georgia” with CUPE 15 Vancouver inside workers at Vancouver Playhouse/Q.E. Theatre.
25) I decide to wear lots of Hawaiian shirts on the picket line. 26) Aug 24 I invite Stan Persky to come read. 27) Aug 27 I invite Daniel Gawthrop to come read. 28) We go to City Hall for another rally. 29) Ellen Woodsworth introduces me to other union and community organizers. 30) I introduced city councillor Raymond Louie to my fellow library workers. 30b This picture of me, my accordion, picket captain Alexis Greenwood and city librarian Paul Whitney made it into the Georgia Straight article Boss and union tell different tales.
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31) Aug 30 – I invite Hiromi Goto to come read. 32) Aug 30 I hurt my back lifting a flat of water and have to use a wheelie-walker. 33) Sep 6- I invite poet Rita Wong to come read. 34) Sep 7 I invite Vancouver poet laureate George McWhirter to come read. 35/36) The media comes to film us doing “the wave” with our strike signs.
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37) I have to play accordion sitting down now. 38) Sep 14 CUPE 15's Theatre show comes to Library Square. 39) I take them to CBC studios and find somebody from the newsroom. 40) We are filmed for the evening news. 41) Sep 27 Back to playing accordion for Grandeur on Georgia. 42) Sep 29 – I emcee the inaugural music cabaret for Vancouver District Labour Council, organized by Earle Peach, and funds raised are giving to CUPE 391, by Bill Saunders VDLC president.
43) Sep 30 – I play accordion for Word on the Strike, a parallel complimentary event to Word on the Street. 44) Author Jean Barman came to say Hi while I played accordion at Word on the Strike. 45) Oct 5 – Author Naomi Klein comes to read, invited by Craig Searle. 46) Oct 9 – Voting Day on the mediated recommendations, We visit with CUPE 15 who will be going back to work. 47) CUPE 391 votes 78% NO and rejects mediator's recommendations. 48) Oct 12 Jinder and I play chess. 49) I help with the information booth with Kristie and Angela.
October 21st, we vote 71% to accept new contract with changes to the mediator's recommendations.
October 24, we are back working at the library.
July 26 to Oct 21st – 87 days of strike action.
The first ever strike in CUPE 391's 77 years of union history.
Read Todd's stories about theLibrary Strike
See Todd's pictures at
Todd Wong's Flickr site