VANCOUVER—Early this evening, members of CUPE 391, representing over 750 striking Vancouver library workers, voted 78 per cent in favour of rejecting
mediator Brian Foley’s recommendation for settlement. Throughout today more than 540 CUPE 391 members cast their vote.
“Our membership is very disappointed with the mediator’s proposal,” said CUPE 391 bargaining chair Ed Dickson. “We had hoped that this might be a way to expedite the bargaining process to find a fair settlement, but unfortunately there are some significant issues that still need to be more equitably addressed.”
On Sunday, the CUPE 391 bargaining committee recommended rejection of the proposed settlement because it fell short in addressing the union’s key issues like pay equity and improved rights for part-time and auxiliary workers.
“Making a significant step towards achieving pay equity is a priority for our membership. They feel very strongly that they cannot agree to a deal that only applies to less than half of our workforce,” said CUPE 391 president Alex Youngberg. “If we were to agree to the recommendations as is, over half of our members, many of which are among our lowest wage earners, will not see any benefit during the term of the collective agreement.”
Despite the disappointment, the bargaining committee maintains that the recommendations could form the basis for a future final settlement for the library, and they are encouraging the Vancouver Public Library to sit down and work with them to create a “library-made” solution.
“We believe that with a few modifications we could find a resolution to this labour dispute that our members would be able to accept,” said Dickson.
CUPE 391 members have been on strike for a fair contract since July 26, 2007.
Contact: Alex Youngberg, CUPE 391 president, 604-908-6095
Ed Dickson, CUPE 391 bargaining committee chair 604-605-2028
Diane Kalen, CUPE Communications, 778-229-0258