Retirement on the picket lines
Our Friday barbeques-slash-special events at Central have all been good, but today’s was really special. Ron Dutton, a longtime CUPE 391 member and former branch head, division head, and PSM, retired today, after spending the last few weeks of his distinguished VPL career on the picket line. It was an appropriate end to many years of dedicated service, with delicious snacks, short and very touching speeches, and a standing ovation for Ron himself.
In case you weren’t there today, Alex spoke for the union, and Gerard spoke for the Hardship Committee. Besides donating the amount allotted for his retirement gift to the Hardship Committee, Ron has also signed over his strike pay, and spoke movingly about the need for others to do the same. He also quoted former VPL director Aileen Tufts, who talked at her own retirement celebration (in 1987) about the union’s important role in the library.
To quote just a little of what Ron said: “[while at VPL] I’ve worked with some of the smartest people in Vancouver. Bless you for making my work life so funny and entertaining and worthwhile.”
Ron was my boss in the old Language and Literature division. Everyone who has worked for or with him will remember him as a kind, generous, and committed librarian, as well as for his sense of humour.
I won’t say goodbye, because Ron promises to join us again on the picket lines. All the best, Ron!
(photos of Ron’s retirement are now on the main photo gallery. Thank you to Lily Gee)
A new committee has been formed to thank and formally acknowledge the people and organisations who have been giving us donations of food, money, and other kinds of support since the strike began. Please talk to Pauline Manton, Elektra Harris, or Cynthia Algar (or put a note in the suggestion box) if you know of anyone who has made a donation who may not have been thanked yet.
Mark your calendar for Saturday September 8th, when we’ll be putting together a benefit show at the Maritime Labour Centre (1880 Triumph), with funds raised going to the hardship fund. We’ll post more details here as they get finalized, but expect some great entertainment, including the amazing Circus in Flames, fronted by our own Doug Andrew. Invite your friends!
This week the Georgia Straight published an article about our strike, including quotes from Paul Whitney and Alex Youngberg.
Today’s raffle raised $392 for the Hardship fund!
Yesterday some members from CUPW (postal workers) picketed with us in solidarity. Thank you to our brothers and sisters at Canada Post.
And please see the Bargaining Resources page for the picket schedule for the long weekend!
I’ll be off all next week. Please send your notes and updates to the strike email address or talk to Aliza or another member of the Executive. See you when I get back! –Janis