Vancouver library workers’ staunch support for locked-out Telus workers in BC and Alberta has paid off. After lobbying their employer, CUPE 391 received word that Vancouver Public Libraries (VPL) was suspending two services and all new and projected contracts with Telus until the labour dispute is settled.
While the VPL will still provide basic phone services, the libraries have cancelled a planned computerized system upgrade for all branches as well as the “time-out” software service that limits computer use at each terminal. Meanwhile, any servicing that’s required before the end of the strike will be done after hours, when union staff are not onsite.
This kind of pressure will help force Telus to come back to the table and bargain in better faith and shows the power of solidarity, Local 391 vice president Mark Whittam said.
One branch that had been having trouble with its phones cancelled an appointment with the Telus repair crew to show solidarity with the locked-out workers, he said.
The announcement comes after CUPE 391 requested that VPL have no dealings with Telus replacement workers, telling them that CUPE members would not work alongside scabs nor permit scabs from entering VPL worksites. Members have been stopping by the picket lines to offer support informally.
The news comes as VPL and Telus were negotiating a contract for a new phone system for CUPE’s 22 branch libraries, and installation of Telus software at Vancouver’s central library.
More solidarity picketing is being organized and momentum is swelling in support of Telus workers, locked out in BC in April and in Alberta in July.