A “State-of-the-Union Address” – given at the October Board Meeting

This presentation was given by Laura, CUPE 391 Vice President to the Vancouver Public Library Board at the October 22, 2008 Board Meeting by CUPE Vice. It was meant as a “State of the Union Address” to update the Board on how CUPE 391 members were coping one year after the strike.

Over the past year, the biggest issue that CUPE391 members have grappled with is trying to adapt to the many changes that Management has implemented.

CUPE 391 members understand the need for change and acknowledge that much “good work” comes out of some of these initiatives. We’re proud of our accomplishments such as early childhood literacy programs, website development and the Working Together project.

However, as someone who works directly with the affected front-line staff, I am really concerned about the level of disengagement I see at all staff levels below our Managers and Directors.

It has been my experience that most of our members feel that they do not receive the training, support and leadership that they need to cope with the level of change we are experiencing.

We need time, training, support and leadership to move towards the culture that VPL Management is trying to achieve.

Our library assistants are faced with serious challenges as they are forced to take work as lower paid shelvers, lose their hours or move to unfamiliar and sometimes distant work sites. They are also worried about losing their positions in the future when RFID is implemented.

Our information assistants and library technicians are being asked to take over more and more of the work of the professional librarians and are often not supported enough or trained enough to do these jobs.

The professional front-line librarians, particularly those who provide reference service at Central, feel their work is no longer valued and that the skills they have developed over years are no longer considered relevant. They too face severe workload pressures.

Finally, many supervisors are have depleted their “goodwill” bank accounts and don