It was a good day on the lines today. We started the morning off at Central with a visit from the bargaining committee and our national representative, Jim Gorman. Jim gave the crowd a quick overview of the five days we spent last week in bargaining and then he and the members of the committee answered some questions.
The one of everyone’s mind was probably “how long can this go on?” The City of Vancouver spokesman was quoted as saying six to eight weeks. A frightening thought, but I can assure you that the bargaining committee will do everything it can to end it sooner. If it should last that long, it is because that is how the city wants it. Regardless, the members of CUPE 391 will stand strong together.
At noon today, labour writer Terry Glavin addressed the crowds with words of support. An experienced labour activist who, over the 15 years he worked as an employee of the civic press, was on strike for a total of one whole year. Most interesting was his very first strike in the early eighties when he and his colleagues at the “Columbian” went out in support of their fellow female workers for pay equity! Twenty-five years have gone by and here the members of 391 stand outside the doors of our libraries fighting for the very same thing. It’s not right. In a civilized and modern culture, gender discrimination should have no place.
Later in the day, Members of 391 were also honoured by visits from former city councillor Fred Bass and a candidate from the green party, who both came to give us words of encouragement. Thanks to these two gentlemen and to Terry for coming down to the picket lines.
Finally, thank you to the two members from Local 23, City of Burnaby and local 3338, workers at Simon Fraser University, for the solidarity they showed by walking the lines with us today.
The Bargaining Committee knows that the members on the lines are craving ways to involve the public who support us and so a petition is being drafted and there are plans for the production of buttons and bumper stickers to give our supporters. We are also working on some handouts for the public that will describe our perspectives on our key issues.
If you have any questions about how to get further involved with galvanising public support or political support or have any ideas you might like to share related to this, please talk to your picket captains or e-mail the Coalition Building Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Comments, questions, and ideas related to strike action and strike activities in general are also always welcome and valuable to us. Please get in touch at email@example.com and of course, through the ears of your picket captains.
On behalf of the Bargaining Committee I will leave you with a very cheesy cliche that is sincerely felt.
You are the wind beneath our wings.