REGINA: Unionized library workers at all Regina Public Library locations will walk off the job at 5 PM today. The 180 members of CUPE Local 1594 will rally in front of City Hall at 5:15 PM during the Library Board’s budget presentation to City Council. The rally will be followed by a union meeting at Strike Headquarters at 7 PM. CUPE will issue a news release revealing plans for future job action following the meeting.
The rally and meeting are in response to management’s latest contract offer. Negotiations between management and the union have come to an impasse and talks have ended with no further negotiations scheduled.
In a news release issued today, Library Director Sandy Cameron stated that management has “tried to balance the needs of our staff with the concerns of the Regina taxpayer”. CUPE’s response to the points noted in the Library’s news release are:
- Wages are not in dispute. CUPE has accepted the proposed wage increase of 3% per year in each year of the 3-year contract.
- The 1.35% health program benefit offered by management doesn’t buy a health plan. What it does do is make a health plan mandatory for full-time and part-time workers, but the additional cost of the plan and any maintenance increases will be paid for by the already underpaid and burdened library worker. Yet, management, the highest paid employees at the Library, enjoy a benefit package worth more than 4% that is FULLY funded by Regina taxpayers.
- Management’s proposed job evaluation simply reshuffles existing jobs and freezes wages. The Library has made no commitment or guarantee that a pay equity plan will be created, or that the 1% set aside for “job rate adjustments” will ever be spent. Management says they are committed to 5% over 5 years for a pay equity reserve fund, but they won’t commit to pay equity. In fact, they have only said they will study the financial impact. The union cannot agree to a job evaluation plan without a commitment to identifying and correcting the gender discrimination in wages.
“Mr. Cameron says that they have attempted to address the union’s concerns over pay equity and the creation of a health plan,” says CUPE National Representative Mike Keith. “What he hasn’t said is that the offer he’s placed on the table has no teeth in it. Mr. Cameron is talking the talk, but the terms outlined in their contract commits the Library Board to nothing.”
The union’s 180 members have been without a contract since December 31, 2000 and are entering their third week of job action after a series of rotating strikes. Key issues the union wants addressed include: the elimination of gender-based wage discrimination, the establishment of a health plan, and full disclosure on the Library’s plans to send work and tax dollars out of province.
For more information contact:
Rosemary Oddie, Acting President, CUPE Local 1594,
or Mike Keith, CUPE National Representative
525-5874 or 536-4856