Once again, the Bargaining Committee diligently returned to the bargaining table today to meet with the Employer. After carefully reviewing the Employer’s new package of proposals tabled last Wednesday, the Bargaining Committee was disappointed to discover that the Employer is still not adequately addressing our key issues of pay equity, job security, benefits, and improved rights for part-time and auxiliary workers.
Additionally, when we evaluated the Employer’s proposed wage package that was tabled as the regional wage increase, we were surprised to find that the wages were still below the regional offer when you took into consideration the wage increase effective dates. (For example, rather than tabling the regional wage of 3% to be effective on January 1, 2008, the Employer shamelessly tabled an increase of 2% on Jan. 1, 2008 and 1% on Sept. 1, 2008.)
It doesn’t take a math whiz to realize that when you stagger wage increases like this the final wages end up being actually less than the negotiated regional settlement in other municipalities.
So today, we tabled our response to the Employer. In addition to amending our position on several of our proposals, we tabled the regional wage increase of 17.5% over 5 years as well as a two part plan to deal with our key issue of Pay Equity and Job Evaluation.
This plan is identical to the plan that was agreed to and ratified by Burnaby library workers only a few weeks ago. Unlike the Employer’s proposal, it includes a fair and objective way to review and address pay equity concerns through a gender neutral point-weighted job evaluation system and allows library jobs to be compared to classifications within the library itself as well as similar classifications within the City of Vancouver to ensure that workers are being fairly paid. It also includes a vital arbitration system.
Addressing pay equity is long overdue at VPL and this proposed plan is the first step in dealing with this serious issue. We feel very strongly that in this case what worked in Burnaby should also work for Vancouver, and we hope that our Employer and the City see the wisdom of dealing with this issue sooner rather than later
The Employer has indicated that they will be taking some time to review our proposal and will let us know when they are ready to respond.
Please stay tuned for more updates.
Thanks for all your support,
The Bargaining Committee