Hotsheet #9

News from across the water…

The Victoria Times Colonist reports this morning (p. B1) that the library workers at the Greater Victoria Public Library are on the verge of going out on strike for the first time in the 60 year history of their union local. Ed Seedhouse, president of CUPE 410, which represents the library employees, is quoted as saying it would take a miracle to prevent a strike. As is the case here at VPL, the key issues are pay equity and improved benefts for auxiliary employees. The union maintains that library workers were promised pay equity with Victoria municipal employees 10 years ago but that no progress has been made.

Seedhouse notes that “…the parking lot attendant at the parkade beneath the Broughton Street main library is paid $20.30 an hour, while a library clerk who checks out books is paid $17.58. A librarian with six years of post-secondary education is paid $27.66 an hour, while a research analyst with the city, who also likely has post-secondary education, is paid $30.97.”

The mediator booked out of negotiations yesterday but the union, which represents 220 library employees, has yet to issue 72 hours strike notice.

The Greater Victoria Public Library encompasses 8 branches and is funded by 10 member municipalities. The employer and the union bargain through the Greater Victoria Labour Relations Association.

To read the fulltext of the article, go to: “Library staff poised to strike: pay equity, treatment of auxiliaries main stumbling blocks”

And closer to home…

Tom Sandborn from The Tyee ( takes Vancouver’s NPA dominated City Council to task in a guest column in today’s Vancouver Courier (p. 10). Sandborn maintains that Vancouver holds the dubious distinction of being the only CUPE employer to push its unionized workers into taking strike action three times over the last ten years (each strike occurred with the NPA in power).

Sandborn counters the expensive anti-union spin which has been a regular feature of the City’s public communications during the current labour dispute:

“Civic workers in Vancouver are not greedy thugs out to pillage the city’s coffers. That place in the city’s ecology has already been filled by developers and P3 contractors busy running up the metre on construction of the RAV Ravine and other disastrous Olympic legacies. Civic workers, in contrast, deliver value for money every day, when not kept from their jobs by city stonewalling.”

Sandborn makes particular mention of the library union’s struggle for pay equity. He laments that a swift end to the current strike seems unlikely at the present time, but recommends that the mayor and city managers might want to avail themselves of the library’s collections and services to educate themselves on topics such as pay equity, gender justice and fair labour relations once the dispute is resolved and the library reopens.

To read the fulltext of the article, go to “Labour relations strain under NPA reign”