Sometimes it’s hard to get up in the morning and face the day. You know that what you have been doing for the past six weeks is the right thing. You’re standing out there on the pickets lines, or dedicating yourself to making sure the phones are answered and that questions are answered, and you are making sure work gets done that needs to get done. You do all this for what you know is a just cause. But when your employer hasn’t even responded to your union’s last offer for settlement in over 12 days, you could be forgiven for feelings of anger and frustration. What do you do to revitalize yourself? GO TO A RALLY!!!!
Today, a huge number of members from all three Vancouver locals gathered at Science World to wind their way up to City Hall. Gathering support as we went and getting a boost with a speech by 1004 president Mike Jackson, the enormous crowd then flooded the grass in front of City Hall’s art deco tower with it’s neon clock to have their spirits further raised by great speeches from our very own president, Alex Youngberg, Barry O’Neill, president of CUPE BC, and CUPE 15 president, Paul Faoro. Determined and inspiring words were shared. Our members, and those of the other locals, gathered to support each other and send a clear message to the those inside the building, “Get back to the table and negotiate!”
The definition of negotiate? “to come to an agreement on something through discussion and compromise”. This requires two sides. Your CUPE 391 bargaining committee can not do it alone and we demand that the employer get back to the table. We continue to await a response from them to CUPE 391’s last offer to settlement, and have been doing so for 12 days. Everyday that goes by is another day our members must walk the line, and this is unacceptable.It should be noted that we now have over 1000 signatures from the public on our petition, urging our employer, the Vancouver Public Library Board, Paul Whitney, Mayor and Council, and the City Manager to negotiate a fair collective agreement with CUPE 391. We know that this is only a small sampling of the support we have out there from the public. Remember to send any new signatures, letters to Sam Sullivan and Elizabeth Ball, etc. to the union office daily.
“My Civil City has Pay Equity” was a slogan that was visible throughout the grounds of City Hall today. It is the winning slogan in our button contest, and according to the folks handing these out to the crowds, they flew out of the bags and onto shirts like hotcakes into a hungry belly. We have hundreds of these fabulous buttons to hand out to the public wishing to show us support, so feel free to do so at the various picket locations or have some with you to give to away to friends and family. Any locations currently without buttons will be receiving them shortly.
The next exciting event on the horizon is a BBQ at Central. It will be a joint celebration of our great solidarity, creativity and hard work, and the retirement of longtime CUPE 391 member Ron Dutton. In light of this, we are inviting folks to bring treats to share in a “dessert potluck”. Yum.
Note: The document that was handed out to the membership by the bargaining committee yesterday is now available online on our bargaining resources page (see right), along with another informative piece entitled “How did we get here?”, which describes chronologically the process of bargaining up to this point.
This is not an easy struggle, but it is definitely a worthy struggle. Everyday the creativity, hard work and positive spirit of our membership recharges the bargaining committee to make us ever more determined to see our local’s issues addressed in black and white on our next collective agreement.