The Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 15, has applied to the BC Labour Relations Board for the appointment of a mediator in its dispute with the Vancouver Art Gallery. More than 200 Gallery workers have been off the job since their strike began Tuesday.

“After more than eight months of bargaining, our members are frustrated that Gallery managers continue to insist on a major concession and refuse to move from their position,” said CUPE 15 President Warren Williams. “We are hopeful that a mediator can help rebuild the relationship between the parties in order to bring about a fair, respectful and negotiated settlement.”

Gallery workers served strike notice on January 28 and took job action on February 4 in response to Gallery managers’ application under Section 78 of the Labour Code for a “last offer vote.” Under that provision, an employer can force union members to vote on its last offer, even when that offer has been rejected by the union’s representatives.

The parties are scheduled to meet with the mediator Sunday at 9am.

CUPE 15 represents more than 7,000 municipal, community social service, education and not-for-profit workers in Vancouver, and is B.C.’s largest CUPE local.