City Councillor Raymond Louie meets CUPE 391 library workers
It was a busy day at City Hall on Wednesday, Aug 29, as three civic unions marched from Science World to City Hall for a rally.
After the speeches were made, City Councillor Raymond Louie was seen talking to some of the city workers. One of my library co-workers suggested giving Councillor Louie one of our “My Civil City has Pay Equity” buttons. I walked over to Raymond, gave him a button, and offered to introduce him to CUPE 391 Vancouver Library workers, as I don't think he knew any of our library workers, nor was aware of the Vision-CUPE conspiracy that was earlier reported in the Georgia Straight: Vision using strike for political gain.
Raymond was pleased to be introduced, and shared that he was a union member with CEPUC, the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada, as he had worked for the Pacific Press Group for many years, and also endured many strikes.
Some of our members asked Councillor Louie what he was doing to end the civic strike, as last week Louie had called for a mediator to help bring the unions and city back to the bargaining tables. At that press conferience Louie had said:
city and the union leaders to sit down with a mediator and get this
strike resolved,” said Councillor Louie
“We're asking the parties to agree to a mediator, as negotiations
seem to be heading in a negative direction and the duration of this
strike is unacceptable…
“The buck stops with the mayor! He should be the one to make
the first move in terms of calling on a mediator.”
– but the City had still not responded days after the call, while the unions have said they would welcome a mediator. Louie also said that Mayor Sam Sullivan and the NPA caucus have been very locked into their thinking and difficult to budge.
Louie also asked me how important pay equity was to our union because it would be expensive. I explained that entry level librarians in Toronto are making $7 more than entry level librarians in Vancouver, and that library salaries were far below academic wages at UBC,
“Our former Human Resources Director left for the business sector, and one of the HR assistants went with her!” I explained as I pointed out that the corporate sector pays more for similar positions. Salaries for Vancouver Public Library employees have fallen behind for 30 years. Our union would accept the Burnaby contract, because it has pay equity. Can we please have the same contract as Burnaby?