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CUPE 410 members walk out once more as employer moves to ‘protect assets’

VICTORIA—A Greater Victoria Public Library worker who was suspended two days ago for waiving fines for food bank donations received a two-day suspension today, prompting a second union walkout and shutdown of all nine GVPL branches, as well as an unfair labour practices complaint by CUPE to the Labour Relations Board.

Central branch circulation supervisor Helen Hughes is suspended for today and Monday. With the employer escalating disciplinary measures against CUPE 410 members, three other workers who have received verbal warnings for waiving fines for food are also expected to face suspensions.

Earlier today, in its complaint to the LRB, CUPE 410 said that the waiving of fines is a legal strike activity and that “therefore the employer cannot retaliate against employees engaged in this lawful strike action.”

CUPE 410 president Ed Seedhouse said that it is unfair of the employer to target and
intimidate individual members for a collective union action.

Seedhouse, citing a January 15 letter to him from GVPL chief executive Barry Holmes, also questioned Holmes’s claim that the library, by disciplining employees in this way, was acting to “protect the library’s assets.”

“How are fines an asset?” Seedhouse asked. “What about the patrons, the workers, the books and the materials? Food for fines, as an action, is actually bringing patrons back to the library in big numbers—and that has to be considered an asset.”

Contact:  Ed Seedhouse: CUPE  410 president: (250) 588-9565
  Tammy Simonds: CUPE representative: (250) 812-7197
  Dan Gawthrop: CUPE Communications: (604) 999-6132