CUPE Local 391 represents the more than 750 employees of Vancouver Public Library, Sechelt Public Library and the Gibsons and District Public Library.
We acknowledge that the work we do is on the ancestral, traditional and stolen territories of the Coast Salish Peoples. In particular, the territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), shíshálh (Sechelt), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh).
Williams Lake is an area my family has hunted in for many years. We would always bring Salmon and Halibut to trade with the Nation so we had their blessing to take a moose from their territory and not just the permission of the colonial government.
Whenever these findings are in the news it tears open old wounds and drags anxiety out over the future.
The old legends say it will take seven generations to heal from the horrors of colonialism. My Elders back home would argue about if that meant 7 generations from contact or from the day we are seen as equals and healing begins.
With my Niece/ Nephew due in the next 1-3 weeks my family has been talking a lot about generational trauma and what that will mean for their future and the world they are growing into.
The Elders would speak when I was a child about how wonderful it was to see all the children running around and playing. As I grew older I realized this was because for most of their lives there were almost no children on the reserve. I would ask that everyone take a moment today to think about what our communities would look like with next to no children around. What would our neighborhoods here in the city look like without families, What would our libraries look like?
Please be kind to each other and to yourselves.
A reminder of the National Indian Residential School Crisis Line at 1-866-925-4419 (available 24/7).
Members can also contact Homewood Health for support at homeweb.ca or 1-800-663-1142.
Indigenous staff interested in accessing support from an Elder or Traditional Healer can ask for Homewood’s Indigenous Support Services.
Acting President, CUPE Local 391
Vancouver, Gibsons, and Sechelt Public Library Workers
Happy Labour Day to all the more than 100,000 CUPE members in B.C.! I hope this important day gives you the opportunity to spend some time with your families and friends—subject to pandemic restrictions, of course—and to reflect on the contributions working people have made by forming unions and fighting for a better world for all.
This is the second Labour Day during this pandemic. We won’t be able to come together at big picnics or barbeques. For me, part of what has always made Labour Day celebrations so special has been to see the coming together of workers from so many different backgrounds. And while I’ll miss that terribly this Labour Day, I have hope that by next year COVID-19 will be mostly in the rearview mirror. As we work together to end the pandemic, we also need to work together to ensure that we build back in ways that make our communities stronger and more sustainable.
Of course, the current federal election gives us an important opportunity to have our say about what kind of leadership we want for our country. While I don’t want to make this column about partisan politics, readers likely know which leader and party I support. I hope you will join me in supporting progressive candidates who support strengthening—not weakening—the public services that ensure our communities are for everyone, not just the wealthiest.
We had much work to do before this pandemic to make our communities, our province, and our country fair and just for everyone. It’s unconscionable, for example, that there are communities in this country without access to drinking water. Income inequality continues to grow, as the 1 percent amasses more wealth at the expense of the rest of us. There is much more work to be done to eradicate racism in our social and political systems and structures. And, we are facing a climate crisis that demands action and resolve from leaders and citizens alike.
These are no small challenges, and there are no quick fixes, but our society will not thrive if any of them are left unaddressed.
One way to build greater equity in our economy is to increase the availability of quality affordable child care. That’s why one of our top priorities for the fall and beyond is building support for the mass expansion of $10 a Day child care in communities across the province. The pandemic has really exposed the inequities in access to quality, affordable child care, and also demonstrated that our public schools can provide the child care B.C. needs. The new seamless day pilot projects in more than 20 school districts across B.C., which bring before and after-school child care into public schools, shows us a great, cost-effective way to make child care spaces more accessible with enhanced learning for kids. The facilities are already built, the programs can integrate with daytime learning, and we already have many of the trained people ready to get to work.
So as we work together over the coming months and years, let’s try to remember the spirit we all felt a year ago, when we made a point of thanking the frontline workers who have gotten us through the pandemic. Let’s remember the spirit and solidarity of the workers and union members who made so many sacrifices to make things better not just for themselves but for everyone.
Happy Labour Day.
Karen Ranalletta is President of CUPE BC, elected in 2021. CUPE BC is the largest union in British Columbia, representing more than 100,000 workers delivering important public services in nearly every community in the province.
We have voted to ratify the new collective agreement.
247 members voted, and the agreement passed.
The employer has ratified the agreement as well.
The committee is very grateful for the support that we have felt from the membership throughout this process.
As we move toward a new round of bargaining, please watch for a callout for interested members to form the next bargaining committee.
In solidarity on behalf of your Bargaining Committee:
Renee Milaney (Chair)
Tamara Coombes (alt)
Jeanne Marr, CUPE National Rep.
CUPE Local 391