CUPE 410 members who work for the Greater Victoria Public Library voted more than 85 percent in favour of strike action during a balloted vote held Sunday. The vote comes on the heels of talks breaking off between the union and representatives of the Greater Victoria Public Library and Greater Victoria Labour Relations Association Saturday afternoon.
“After bargaining collaboratively for more than a year to make significant progress on key issues, the employer presented workers with a list of concession demands,” said Helen Hughes, CUPE 410 president. “The employer refuses to move on its concession demands and refuses to answer key questions about sweeping changes proposed to scheduling and use of auxiliary workers.”
The proposed concessions relate to the extent and nature of precarious work, the rules and wages related to scheduling during normal weekend days, and the use of student employees in place of existing, long-serving auxiliary staff.
“The employer proposes to save tens of thousands of dollars annually by replacing existing employees with more precarious staff who are paid less and have fewer workplace rights,” said Hughes. “While we remain committed to a negotiated resolution, we need the employers’ cooperation in producing a fair settlement at the bargaining table.”
As talks broke off Saturday, the employer reported that it would be applying to the BC Labour Relations Board to have a mediator appointed. The local’s bargaining committee remains hopeful that talks will revert to their previous positive tone, but are ready to take further action if needed.
“The last thing we want is to disrupt library users’ access to the services they count on,” said Hughes. “Know that we will be doing all we can to seek a negotiated resolution.”
CUPE 410 represents 240 workers at the Greater Victoria Public Library located at sites across the capital region.