Central Reorganisation: is this better public service?

What fresh hell is this?  The Directors Group has resuscitated previously used ideas such as Single Service Point and Central Reorganisation to complement organisational goals of centralising ordering and flattening of subject expertise of our professional members.  The Union and Management discussed the fallout from the lack of notice of this latest reorganisation installment at our Union Management meeting on Tuesday, July 8.

We suggested that the Union and Management might interview members to find out where each felt their experience and education would be best utilised for future placements.  We conducted such a joint exercise eleven years ago the library system was hit with $5,000,000 in cuts.  A very messy period of bumping and temporary layoff ensued.  Staff morale was at an all time low.  Today, members are again in tears.  Not just because we are being moved to locations that do not reflect our subject expertise, but also because of the “dumbing down” down of our public service that we offer with such pride.  Please let the Executive know how best we can support you.  We are contemplating everything from the above mentioned suggestion of joint interviews with the intent to better place members through knowledge of skill sets, grievances, lateral transfers, and a public awareness campaign.  Do not lose your heart and spirit.  We need your ideas and support.  Please send them.

Over twenty years ago, the single service point desks at the 750 Burrard building migrated into subject specific desks to better serve the public.  Subject specialists were forced into awkward assignments eleven years ago with budget cutbacks.  Single Service Point plan begat the Single Service Point Review which begat the Staff Equalisation Working Committee.

The Union had asked for a review of SSP as it had been enacted with little planning and evaluation and was showing cracks.  Two years later Management obliged with SSPR (Single Service point Review).  The SSPR recommended that staffing levels be evaluated on each floor.  Level 6, or example had always needed more professional staff.  The Equalisation Committee finished its work very recently (after over two years of meeting) and the projected outcomes bear little resemblance to to its initial mandate or to some of the excellent work that was produced.  This has damaged the morale and teamwork of the committee and some members who will be negatively affected by implementation of this plan.

CUPE 391 has delivered two surveys on the effects of VPL’s poorly managed and evaluated planning: the Workload Survey and the Morale Survey.  The results of these surveys pointed to management’s lack of planning, leadership and poor communications.  Management responded with their own $40,000 dollar cultural audit, also known as the Employee Survey.  This item produced irrefutable evidence that VPL had some of the lowest scores possible in both public and private sectors for planning, leadership and poor communications.  Shortly after the results of this survey were made known, CUPE Local 391, went out on strike.

The union will be auditing the effects of the strike and the management’s efforts to improve communications, planning and leadership.  Some of the managers believe that there will be more accountability, assessment and better planning now that there are more managers to assist these processes.  The Union recommends more than a week’s notice for the next installment.  We hope that management demonstrates compassion to our members and gives some sense of what the positive outcomes this back to the future exercise might be. Please read the results of the Telephone Survey on the Bulletin Board.  Apparently Staff to answer questions in person and Large and diverse book collections for borrowing were the most important and appreciated items for patrons.

Criminal Records Checks Arbitration Canceled

Here is the HR Consultant’s email.  I have promised CUPE not to comment until after the grievance has been resolved.  The gist of the email from Human Resources is that you DO NOT have to have a criminal records check.

The Criminal Record Review Act (CRRA) will now be record check used for employees.  The police review your record for histories of sexual misconduct with children, acts of physical violence and drug-dealing (for example).  Minor charges do not warrant being brought to the employer’s attention.  This is the process which the Union suggested was appropriate for libraries when we first addressed the Board in September of 2006.

Police Record Checks

In December 2006 Vancouver Public Library announced a new Employment Checks
policy which included Police Record Checks for many public service staff.
The Union disputed the application of the policy and we were set to go to
arbitration in June of 2008.

In April/May 2008 VPL was notified that the Ministry of Public Safety and
the Solicitor General changed its application of the Criminal Records
Review Act.  The VPL was advised that the Criminal Records Review Act did
in fact apply to municipal public libraries.  The Ministry confirmed this
change in writing.

As a result VPL has withdrawn its December 2006 policy. All employees
should stop getting their police record checks.  Any employees that have
already received their police record will be reimbursed when we receive the
receipt.  For employees that have already submitted a police record check,
we will be issuing a separate memorandum outlining the procedure
for picking up your police records. Please be assured that all police
records are being stored in a secure location.

In the upcoming weeks Management will be meeting with the Union to discuss
the application of the Criminal Records Review Act at VPL.  A new policy
and procedure will be announced soon.

Overtime Dining at the Taxpayers Trough
Have a gander at who’s who in O/T bonuses COV Top 500 list.  Looks like parking meters are more important than social services during a strike.
Overtime Payout During Strike