All Staff Forum January 23, 2007

All Staff Forum
Employment Checks
Board Meeting Wednesday, January 23rd@5.30 p.m.
Website Training

All Staff Forum
January 23 at Central Library, 8.30 p.m., an all staff forum will take place.  Reorganisation of Central Library will on the agenda for discussion.  This is a technological change as it reorganises the work of the organisation.  Our newly appointed members of the standing Technological Change committee will be noting these changes.

Before 2004, communicating planning for change used to be a function of the Strategic Planning director.  The research librarian often wrote papers describing future directions in libraries.  Staff consultation process would be duly marked in a calendar.  We would be advised to get our thinking caps on and participate in the process or else accept whatever consequent results of planning would be.

In the past these processes would be articulated with some intention of including staff in the planning and evaluation.  Regular staff meetings were held; input from staff inserted and accommodated.  Plans and minutes documenting the restructuring would be posted on the Intranet and in workplaces.  We would rail against the incompleteness of the planning process and the lack of public consultation but we would get on with delivering public service to our beloved patrons.

Somewhere around 2004, accountability as a factor of change management became increasingly elusive.  New strategies were half-conceived and the execution of them dealt with a very dull blade. (Single Service Point leaps to mind).  Staff dissatisfaction and worry rose exponentially with the lack of information and engagement.  Engagement in this instance is a buzz word meant to convey a meeting with collaborative possibilities.

Tomorrow’s meeting bears the hallmarks of the most recent aforementioned planning style.  The union executive has been given the meerest outline of the structural changes.  Here is the information that we have received.

  • The public service manager position from Level 5 will be moved to Children’s.  The LAIV Librarian position will not be filled. A teen librarian position will be created. The clerical supervisor position remains.
  • Quick Information Service, Virtual Reference and Newspapers and Magazines will now be under the the PSM who used to be responsible for Interlibrary Loans, Circulation and QIS.  The discussion of where QIS staff will be, still needs to happen. The clerical supervisor position will follow the PSM to Level 5.
  • Interlibrary Loans, Circulation and Popular Reading Library will now answer to another PSM.  There will be clerical supervisors for Circulation and PRL.  Presumably ILL will be the subsection of one of the two departments.  The PSM from PRL and Multi will now move to Level 3, Language and Literature.
  • Multilingual Services will now come under the direction of the PSM of Language and Literature. The clerical supervisor position remains and will now also be responsible for Multi.
  • Science and Business, Level 4, remains the same.
  • As previously stated, Newspapers and Magazines will now join QIS and Virtual Reference.  But what happens to the supervisory position?  Canadian Health Network’s contract will end unfortunately March 31, 2008.  The Librarian III has been accommodated at Collingwood and other Health Network staff have acquired other hours.
  • The PSM on Level 6 will now be responsible for Special Collections, along with Fine Arts and History.  There is logic and past practice in this move, but will increase the workload of the clerical supervisor on this floor.

So, two positions lost: the Librarian IV and the clerical supervisor.  The Union will need to have restructuring clarified in order to pursue a course of action.  At the very least, classification and technological changes have to be identified and acknowledged.

When I asked what the duties of the new positions would entail I was told they had not yet been determined.  The new roles of the PSMs and Area Service Managers are still in the creative process.  Here we are, once again, in the throes of an organisational change, with new managers in undefined job descriptions, leading the charge.  Should be an interesting “engagement” process.

We will be grieving the lack of posting of the nine LAI positions recently lost through “attrition”.  The work of that position has not gone away and has not been adequately compensated.  All for now on this subject.

Ask smart questions and hope for full answers.  Please bring your concerns to the Union.  Your supervisors will be also be a good source of information.

Employment Checks
As stated last week, please do not pursue an employment check until the Union reports back from a meeting with Human Resources, City of Vancouver Lawyer, CUPE lawyer and CUPE National representative.

The arbitrator, John Steeves, of the CUPE 15 award, found that such factors as “duration of the relationship is an important factor in determining if a position is subject to a check or not.”  And, “However there may well be situations where the intensity of the relationship is also relevant.” Whether a staff member works alone with vulnerable people and/or children are also factors.  The nature of library workers relationships with the public does not seem to intersect with this strict criteria.  The Union will be consulting with the above group on Friday and will post any information that we learn shortly after.

Board Meeting
Please attend the Board meeting and say good-bye to those faithful public servants and caring Library Board members, Crissy George and Tommy Tao.  Both members brought unique gifts and thoughtful, carefully rendered advice to the library board.  Crissy’s background in Social Services helped her to understand the needs of the broader community, not just the advantaged.  Tommy, also, a lawyer and poet, (sublime combination) cared for our collection and the cultural communities that relied on our services.  Both of these board members believed in excellent and accessible collections.  Public service staff and the public thank you both for your services to the Vancouver Public Library Board.

Website Training
You have been heard.  Concerned union members were worried that staff not scheduled for the new website training might have take the training on unpaid time.  This would particularly affect the auxiliary staff not scheduled on the day of training.

I took your concerns to Human Resources.  They are now going to use some the budget allotted to the six 2 hour per year training sessions to accommodate unscheduled auxiliary staff.
So, two things are happening:

  • scheduled staff will use one hour of work time to attend training
  • unscheduled auxiliary staff will be paid to attend website training.  See your supervisors for further questions
  • .

Thank you for bringing these matters to my attention.