VANCOUVER – CUPE 391 library workers were pleased that the City and the Vancouver Public Library (VPL) Board returned to the bargaining table with an offer, even though it falls short of the regional settlement pattern established for library workers in Burnaby on the union’s primary issue of pay equity. The union looks forward to further talks scheduled for Friday, August 17, 2007.
“We are hopeful that through real bargaining the city and board will move closer to the regional settlement pattern,” says CUPE 391 President Alex Youngberg. “We also expect that they will remove the takeaways presented in this latest offer, such as the employer’s demand to introduce a new lower paid library position.”
Currently, an entry-level library worker is paid $15.31 an hour. The proposed wage of the new lower paid position will be approximately $2 an hour less.
Despite the shortfalls of the Library’s offer, Youngberg says that distance between two parties at a bargaining table is normal and expected.
”We look forward to reaching a negotiated settlement that ensures that Vancouver’s library workers concerns are heard and issues addressed,” says Youngberg. “
CUPE 391’s primary issue is pay equity. VPL librarians are paid $7 an hour less than librarians in larger Ontario cities who have addressed pay equity. Other important issues include improvements for part-time workers, benefit improvements and job security.
This is the first time the Vancouver’s Public Library’s 800 workers have ever been on strike in their 77-year history. British Columbia is the one of the few provinces that does not have pay equity legislation, leaving workers to negotiate it at the bargaining table.
Library workers resources and information: pay equity contract language from recent Burnaby settlement as well as CUPE 391 proposed pay equity contract language; short member videos on library worker issues; link to library bargaining blog.
Alex Youngberg, CUPE 391 president, c: 604-908-6095;
Barry O’Neill, CUPE BC president, c: 604-340-6768;
Diane Kalen, CUPE Communications, c: 778-229-0258