Vancouver Library Strike settlement soon? More media attention on the library now

Vancouver Library Strike settlement soon?
More media attention on the library now.

library co-worker friends Kristie, Angela and Alex staff the
Information booth and ask passers-by to sign a petition asking the
library management to return to the bargaining table.- photo Todd Wong

It's been hard for my fellow library workers on the picket line.  This is our first strike in the library worker union's 77 years of history.  Who would have predicted a strike would have gone on this long?  Well people at city hall did…  City spokesman Jerry Dobrovolny said back on August 20th, “Typical city strikes tend to be about six to eight weeks.”  But this 2007 strike was exacerbated by the city bargaining tactics of constant stonewalling and delay and walking away from the bargaining table from December through the spring, through the summer and into the fall. 

Today there's still a media blackout in effect.  So why is the Vancouver Sun publishing this story Striking library workers, city reach tentative deal on their website?  Who told them the information?

A CBC website story reports that Vancouver city manager Judy Rogers sent out a memo and talked with CBC News.  see CBC: Library staff, City of Vancouver reach tentative deal. This story was posted at 7:27 pm PST

News 1130 posted Possibility that Vancouver libraries could be opening next week at 5:19 pm PST

The CUPE 391 page lets library workers know there are “rumors” and “stories” going around, but they can't publish anything on the webpage.  The Bargaining committee will be down at Library Square for the morning crew talk, and apologizes for the confusion caused to its members.

When the CUPE 1004 and CUPE 15 unions for the Vancouver City inside and outside workers settled their contract disputes with the City of Vancouver, our job action committee leaders told us that maybe now, the media would pay attention to the library issues such as pay equity, and how the library strike has affected Vancouver citizens.  It's the middle of October and long after a schools started after Labour Day, the issue that students can't get books is now a news story.  see: Parents, schools suffer as libraries remain closed

But you can't settle a contract if the other party doesn't come to the
table.  The city negotiating teams were  roundly chastised in the media
for not understanding the definition of the word “negotiate” (see Vancouver Sun: Collective bargaining: Democracy in the workplace”).

The City negotiating team was also accused of an unfair labour practice called Boulwarism
where the city didn't even bother to negotiate settlements but instead
took a “take it or strike” approach to it's “offers” that were
couriered to CUPE 15 offices, moments before they were announced to the
media.  (see CUPE > City's failure to negotiate keeps its workers on strike.)


Meanwhile the media continues to print stories about how the striking workers shouldn't be able to take another job to put money on their table for their family or to help pay the mortgage.  Having enough money for food, or to pay the bills has been an issue for a lot of library workers.  A hardship committee was set up in the before the end of the second week of the strike.  Our union was sympathetic for these people and asked that people who were taking jobs elsewhere still put in some picket time both to keep in touch, and to keep solidarity. 20 hours of picket duty does not go far on $200 a week. When part-time jobs became available through our community networking, job contacts were first offered to people through the hardship committee.

And there are still other writers who believe that the CUPE unions were mistaken to rename strike action as “Sam's Strike” after Mayor Sullivan made several erroneous comments about the strike such as the right to picket the Olympics and also said that settling the strike not being a priority for him.

Check out Bill Tielman's column in 24 Hours.  Bill explores each of the “strike myths” and gives the resource links to set the stories straight.

Vancouver newspaper columnists, editorials get facts wrong in trash talking CUPE Vancouver workers over strike Vancouver newspaper columnists, editorials get facts wrong in trash talking CUPE Vancouver workers over strike. Bill Tieleman’s 24 Hours Column …

Here are some of the latest stories on a google search.  Including a wonderful story about the reception that Vancouver library workers received at the CUPE National Convention in Toronto – where they shared their stories of the strike and the creativity of Vancouver libary workers in creating bicycle pickets, puppet shows, etc.

Striking library workers, city reach tentative deal
Vancouver Sun,  Canada – 1 hour ago
vote will be set, likely Friday or Saturday. The two sides have not formally signed the agreement, Once they do, a strikeVancouver's library workers walk
Convention delegates pledge funds to CUPE 391 struggle: Striking
Trading Markets (press release), CA – 1 hour ago
Vancouver's 800 library workers have been on strike for 86 days and without a contract for 289 days. Forced into job action by the employer's unwillingness

Parents, schools suffer as libraries remain closed
Globe and Mail, Canada – 15 hours ago
Students at Britannia Secondary School usually benefit from having the vast resources of the Vancouver Public Library at their fingertips.

Attention turns to library workers
Vancouver Sun,  Canada – 16 Oct 2007
Youngberg said the union met Monday with representatives of the Vancouver Public Library and the Metro Vancouver Labour Relations Bureau to discuss

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