CUPE local 391 (City of Vancouver Library Workers) is on strike for the first time in it's union history!

CUPE local 391 (City of Vancouver Library Workers) is on strike for the first time in it's union history!

city management!!!  Why don't they return to the bargaining table?  Why don't they acknowledge union concerns instead of asking for concessions!

This morning, I attended a CUPE 391 study session, with my fellow library workers, and learned why Vancouver City library workers are taking job action.  The meeting was lead by union president Alex Youngberg, whom I have known for many years.  She has always been supportive of my Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner events, and other community efforts.  Today Alex and the bargaining committee explained why they are frustrated that the Library management has not acknowledged union concerns and issues, nor made counter offers.  Instead they try to impose a contract with concessions.  see:

Why has high priced PR firm
from Toronto, Wilcox Group, (the one that handled SARS) been hired to give an “Olympic spin” and deflect
the real issues, such as job equity, job wage disparity, etc. see

Why is Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan (who has been a big supporter of Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner events) continually saying that the issue is about preventing a strike during the Olympics when the unions stateWe have never said, will never say and have no intention of shutting the city down during the Olympics.” 

I thought the strike was for wage equity, fairness and other labour issues.  Who cares about the Olympics?  It will last for 2 weeks.  Vancouver civic workers will continue to be here long after.  But in the meantime, can we have a fair wage please?  Gee… BC finance minister Carole Taylor gave unions financial bonuses if they signed prior to a certain date, and to keep contract disputes from disrupting the Olympics.

I have been a CUPE 391 member since 1975, and received my 30 year pin
last year.  I have loved working at the library, and enjoy giving
library patrons the best possible service, as do my co-workers. 

Here's an article about Pay Equity:
[PDF] Overdue: Pay Equity for Library Workers

The following press release is from the CUPE website:
Library workers seek positive resolution to avert full strike
[July 25, 2007 05:44 PM]
City encouraged to return to table immediately

VANCOUVER – In a final effort to avoid a full blown strike at Vancouver’s libraries, CUPE 391 public library workers are encouraging their employer, the City of Vancouver, to return to the bargaining table to negotiate.

Public library workers are cautiously encouraged by Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan’s move away from his ongoing demand for a 39-month contract earlier today, admitting the first step is returning to the bargaining table and seeing their local issues addressed, like pay equity, improvements for part-time and auxiliary workers, benefit improvements, and job security.

Tonight (Wednesday) at 5:30 p.m. CUPE 391 will be making a presentation on pay equity, the library workers’ primary bargaining issue, to the Vancouver Public Library Board at the Central Library (350 West Georgia Street).

“Finding a way to start addressing pay equity in Vancouver libraries is a high priority for our members in this round of bargaining,” said CUPE 391 president Alex Youngberg. “We need to make sure that the Library Board understands why pay equity is such a significant issue for us.”

A recent pay equity report released in July 2007 by CUPE researchers affirmed that regardless of the equally valuable work that library workers contribute to society, traditionally female jobs in the library sector are typically lower paying than traditionally male jobs in the municipal sector.

Vancouver Public Library workers are paid $7 an hour less than library workers in Toronto.

Despite the City’s persistent refusal to return to the bargaining table, CUPE 391 remains open to meet and prepared to bargain. However it is anticipated that job action will escalate to a full strike by the end of the week if a fair agreement is not forthcoming.

CUPE 391 represents the 790 employees of the Vancouver Public Library.

Alex Youngberg, CUPE 391 President (Vancouver Public Library workers), 604-322-4879 cell: 604-908-6095.

Diane Kalen, CUPE Communications, 778-229-0258

3 thoughts on “CUPE local 391 (City of Vancouver Library Workers) is on strike for the first time in it's union history!

  1. Anonymous

    Does anyone have pictures of the picket lines? There were many with cameras on Thursday but I can't find them posted anywhere. Thanks.

  2. Anonymous

    I have a group photo of striking library staff in front of the main library on Friday, July 27th.
    What I want to know is what were the increases in wages for the 2003 to 2006 agreement and what's different in 2007?


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