Some days on the picket line are better than others, and today was a good one at Britannia. The morning started off with a visit from the Solidarity Notes Labour Choir. It’s hard to describe just how beautiful and moving their performance was. We picketers laughed, we clapped in time, and most of us had tears in our eyes at one point or another. But it wasn’t just the exquisite arrangements and harmonies, or the way they combined humour and biting, relevant political lyrics. It was also the fact that this choir was formed specifically to support workers and labour causes, and that they came out to sing for us on the picket lines. For more information about these inspired folks (including how to join), see their website at http://www.solidaritynotes.ca/
But our own members are also awfully inspired. Today was the first day of the bicycle pickets, a group of cheerfully-decorated, super-stylish riders and bikes that started off at Britannia and rode to other East side branches spreading the good word–and reminding the public just how amazing library workers are–wherever they went. Here is Beth’s invitation to anyone who would like to join:
Bike strike brigade
Flying bike picket shift is Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.
Meet at Britannia from 9am onwards to decorate bikes
Wheels roll at 10am
We go very slowly, mostly on bike routes, it’s totally supportive and non-competitive
Today (Tues) we went to Britannia, Hastings, Renfrew, Collingwood
Tomorrow (Weds 22) we’re leaving Britannia at 10am, going to Mount Pleasant (there from 10.15 to 10.45), then on to South Hill and Kensington. People can join us at Britannia or Mount Pleasant.
D’Arcy also came by to give us one of his uplifting updates. A few key points:
–There has been quite a bit of misinformation in the press. People may ask us why we aren’t taking the offer that the other municipalities have–the truth is that we would indeed agree to the deal that Burnaby made, but it hasn’t been offered to us. There have also been ads stating that the average city worker gets 50+ days of paid vacation a year. (It’s possible to come to a number like this if stat holidays and compressed days are added in, but that’s not the same thing.)
–You can see the exact wording of some of our key issues/what we are asking for at the CUPE BC website (http://www.cupe.bc.ca/)
–Even in the recent Telus strike, the employer covered pre-scheduled vacations.
–Remember that if you see something that needs doing, you can step in and do it! This includes filling in for a picket captain as needed, calling for extra petitions, and so on.
–And also remember that there will continue to be special events Friday afternoons at Central. Come on down!
Today’s moral is that we are who we are, whether we’re at work or on strike. The very things that drew us to work at the public library will sustain us through these difficult times. We are compassionate. We are honest. We are ethical. We are smart and creative. We believe in lifelong learning, truth, and social justice. And we’re definitely in this for a lot more than money. Our actions right now–whether we’re explaining to the public about waiving fines, keeping the press informed, or out there talking to our friends–are how we continue to demonstrate these values to our community as this strike continues. And we have every reason to be proud.
PS: I’ve also heard that a couple of librarians from Burnaby Public Library and SFU picketed in solidarity at Central today. Thank you to these brothers and sisters–we appreciate the support!
PPS: If you haven’t already, see D’Arcy’s fabulous new video, “Wage and Term,” at http://youtube.com/watch?v=O8BDD_o5ArM