GRAND FORKS, BC — CUPE 2254 members were locked out of their workplace this morning by the Grand Forks & District Library Board.
The five library workers were locked out at 9 a.m., then “invited to return to work” if they accepted a long list of management proposals that would gut their collective agreement. The contract at the public library expired on June 30 and the two sides started bargaining on October 5, 2008.
The members rejected the Board’s “offer” and spent the morning picketing the public library. They were joined on the line by several community members including Grand Forks Mayor Brian Taylor.
CUPE National representative Lee-Anne Halifax called the lockout totally unnecessary, adding that the library workers are determined not to lose the gains they have made in good faith collective bargaining over the past 15 years. “We are already feeling strong support from the community,’’ she said adding that, “while we were picketing, people were bringing us food and coffee and coming by just to say hello.”
The Library Board has proposed eliminating seniority, cutting the number of sick days, reducing vacation pay, taking an accounting position out of the bargaining unit, effectively cutting wages and opening the way to arbitrary contracting out, work schedules and job classifications.