This week may have started off rainy and grey, but thanks to the impressive creativity and energy of our members it ended up a lot more positive. If you haven’t already, take a look at yesterday’s Globe and Mail article (”Library workers picket with pizzazz“), including a great photo of one of our inspirational “grandeur on Georgia” rallies. Even Vancouver Sun columnist Don Cayo concedes that library workers might just have a case for pay equity (see today’s article, “Why this civic strike is taking so long to settle“). We have gathered a lot of signatures on our petition from members of the community, not to mention all the honks and waves of support from people who drive past our picket lines. And the suggestions for new activities from our members are coming in fast and furious–so far we have four typed pages of ideas, with quite a few already in the works.
None of us want to be on the picket line. We want to be at work, not just because we need our paycheques (which–don’t get me wrong–we really do–see the last paragraph below), but because we care passionately about our jobs and the public we serve. It’s one thing for us to say this with words, but quite another to show it with our actions. And this is what we’ve been demonstrating to the community with our, well, “pizzazz” out there, as well as our plain old (and characteristic) niceness.
So no, we are not alone. As well as all the attention and encouragement mentioned above, we’re also on the minds of our brothers and sisters in other unions, who are continuing to send their support in all kinds of ways (thank you to our friends at VCC–CUPE 4627–who sent us chocolates today!). Stan Persky came out this afternoon to talk and read, part of the ongoing “Writers for Library Workers” series, which continues Monday on Central’s south plaza at 1 pm with Daniel Gowthrop (see Todd Wong’s blog for more names and dates).
And there’s more for us to do. Another barbeque has been added to the roster for next week: Tuesday at Kitsilano. (Remember that there will also be BBQs at Kerrisdale and JF on Wednesday, and the hot dogs and festivities return to Central on Friday.) I will continue to post updates as I hear them, on BBQs. bike pickets, and more.
And here’s my own little story for today. This is my usual Friday off with my young daughter, so I brought her along with me today, starting with some picket duty at a branch and ending up at Central. She’s been hearing a lot from me about how we all want to get back to work, but I think after today she probably wonders why. After all, we got to visit with lots of old and new friends and colleagues, hear some great stories and ideas, and even read a couple of fairy tales together. We ate veggie dogs and sat on the plaza for Stan Persky’s talk. And even though I know a lot of us are worried and tired, you never would have guessed it to see the faces of the workers I hung out with today. We are resourceful, we believe in our cause, and we’re sticking together.
That said, we have practical supports out there too. EAP is still available (phone # 604 665-2150). And as Peter put it today, we have a “reality-ship committee” (probably a more accurate name than the Hardship Committee!) that can help with the important and pressing problems of paying rent and other bills–please see the Daily Update from August 17th or elsewhere on this blog for contact information. And don’t forget those other resources, like work colleagues, medical practitioners, and family, that keep us going through thick and thin!
Wishing you all a good weekend,
PS: Peter is away next week on a very well-deserved vacation. The Job Action coordinators will be Alexis, D’Arcy, and Randy. You can reach them at the usual number.