Paul Moist, CUPE National president and Barry O’Neill, CUPE BC president rallied with locked out CUPE 410 library workers on Tuesday in support of their struggle for pay equity. Library workers circled the Central Library building, and “passed a buck” – in reference to local politicians who were passing the buck by pointing fingers at each other rather than being accountable and taking action to end the lockout.
Paul Moist thanked library workers for their energy and commitment. “Doing all you can to win will make it right for so many generations of library workers. Yes, we believe in equity. We support libraries and the public library system.” Barry O’Neill brought greetings and a message of solidarity from 75,000 members represented by CUPE throughout the province. He encouraged locked out members of CUPE 410. “We must understand that this fight is worth all we can give it and we can’t lose at this stage.”
Before the rally began, “Our Libraries”, a grass-roots group, staged a rally at the Library’s inner courtyard to demand that libraries be reopened. Public support of the locked out workers has been tremendous.
Members of CUPE 410 have been locked out since February 17. At issue is pay equity. CUPE 410 has had a letter of understanding since 1992 that they would achieve pay equity with municipal employees. Joint job evaluations were conducted and approved by both sides. Fifteen years later, library workers are the only municipal workers in Victoria who still do not have pay equity.