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VANCOUVER—After 88 days on strike, CUPE 391 members have voted 71 per cent in favour of the tentative agreement reached yesterday between bargaining representatives of the library workers’ union and the Vancouver Public Library (VPL). The VPL Board will be holding their ratification vote tomorrow morning.

The agreement was based on recommendations issued by mediator Brian Foley on October 5, 2007 but included adjustments that were vital for the union before the members could accept the deal. A primary adjustment was the addition of a joint-committee on classification issues whereby the union can express their pay equity concerns.

“We’ve been saying all along that we went out on strike on a principle,” says CUPE 391 President Alex Youngberg, “now we’re going back on a principle. We are going back knowing we have made important advances towards the long-term goal achieving pay equity and paved the way to make further advances in the future.”

In addition to Foley’s recommendations, the tentative agreement also includes the:

  • Inclusion of three more librarian positions into pay grade increases/wage adjustments.
  • Expansion of benefit coverage to include orthotics.
  • Improvements to the return to work agreement, including: maternity, paternity, adoption leave coverage; improvements on how to handle vacation upon return to work and extension of timeline on grievances.

“We are looking forward to working with our employer to fully restore public library services,” says Youngberg. The library workers are expected to return to work as early as Wednesday, October 24, 2007.

“The public is encouraged to approach us in the library and ask us about pay equity. We’d be happy to tell you everything we know and point you to a book or two on the subject.”

CUPE 391 represents 770 library workers employed by the Vancouver Public Library. This was their first strike in their 77-year history. It began on July 26, 2007.

Alexandra Youngberg, CUPE 391 President, 604-908-6095
Ed Dickson, CUPE 391 bargaining chair, 778-840-0207
Diane Kalen, CUPE Communications, 778-229-0258