1. Locked Out! CUPE 2254 Grand Forks Public Library Workers 2.Personal Names on Badges

1. Locked Out and It’s -13
CUPE 2254, five Grand Forks & District Public Library workers, were locked out Monday morning by the Library Board and have been on the picket line since that time.  I spoke to the CUPE National representative, Leanne Halifax, on Tuesday and Wednesday regarding this attempt by the Employer to strip CUPE 2254’s collective agreement.  Leanne said the members will not back down from this fight.  This is a female-dominated workforce.  Some of the members are single mothers who must protect their children’s ability to access health benefits in the collective agreement.  The province of British Columbia already has 20% of our children living in poverty.  We must not allow this to happen here.

Paul Moist, CUPE National president, called to offer the workers solidarity from 570,000 CUPE members across Canada. “The Library Board has completely underestimated the resolve of your members,” he told CUPE 2254 president Steve Crossman, adding that “when an employer takes on one CUPE local, they take on over 2,000 locals who will not sit by and let an employer steal seniority, job security, hours of work, or anything else that protects your working conditions.”

“We are very proud of your commitment to protect the gains you’ve made for fair and just working conditions. Please know that we will be there with you until all concessions are off the table and you can return to work with the collective agreement you deserve,” Moist said.

Library worker Leanne Strang said the call from Moist meant a lot. “We’re ecstatic to feel that support from across the country – we’re just five little members, but it makes us feel so strong.”

Support came from as far away as Fredericton, N.B. in a letter from CUPE 3372 food service member Joanna Price. Price wrote that “Although your group may be few in number, you have the support and good will of many other CUPE members as you continue in your negotiations. I encourage you to continue your fight! You provide a valuable service to your community and deserve the respect of your employer and the benefits and security of all your years of collective bargaining. A victory for one Local is a victory for all.”

The contract at the public library expired on June 30, 2008 and the two sides started bargaining on Oct. 5. The latest proposal from the employer attacks seniority, wage rates, sick pay, vacation time and job classifications and jurisdiction.

CUPE 391 Vancouver Public Library Workers salute the courage of the five member library local.  The people of Grand Forks have suffered enough financial reversals in these past years.  They do not want to be locked out of their library in these “tough economic times”.  Grand Forks needs their library more than ever.  This Employer should open the doors of the Grand Forks Public Library and give the citizens access to their cultural collections.  We support you, CUPE 2254.  Don’t let the %%^&%$ grind you down.

2. Personal Names on Badges

Names on Badges

The original policies that the administration and Board reviewed (one Board and one administrative) are:


With the exception of the employees in charge of the worksite, staff are not required to give their name to members of the public upon request, the patron will be given the employee’s badge number. The patron should be referred to the employee in charge. Library Administration do not reveal employee’s names to the public.

Approved by: Administration

Date: September 18, 1997



Staff must always wear a photo identification tag with a generic “staff” designation while working in the Library. Staff are the given the option to, and encouraged to, use their own names on tags if they wish.

Approved by the Library Board
Date: October 24, 2001

The Employer submitted their report to the Board in May 2008 suggesting that the two policies be revised and consolidated as an administrative policy rather than administrative and Board. The Board deemed that policies reflecting these matters should be Board policies because the issues discussed interfaced directly with public concerns. Both the Union and the administration presented again at the June 25 Library Board meeting. The Board voted in favour of the administrations policy so the grievance continues. Step 4 proceeds to the Board’s Human Resources committee

The Union’s focus at the last Board Meeting was to represent members concerns:

* Uttered threats from public
* Stalking
* Violence
* Identity theft (unusual names)

We are focusing on these issues with emphasis on staff safety.

To place a personal grievance, members need to have observed some basic protocols connected to the policy. I have received a letter from former director, Sandra Singh, which allows for staff who previously brought forward safety-related concerns to the Union to be automatically exempt.

In the matter of Exemptions (see below) S. Sing’s letter.
‘In terms of potential exemptions, VPL management agreed to “automatic” exemptions for those staff who brought forward safety-related concerns to the Union during its previous consultation period, provided those concerns comprised part of the Union’s case/presentation to the Board. (about 40 or 50 letters). (Sandra says 20 in her letter but that figure is incorrect.) Effective January 1, 2009, those
staff will be exempted from this policy for the next year. All other staff must follow the exemption process outlined in the policy, including contacting their Director or HR consultant to request consideration from exemption.

Requests for exemption will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Some reasons for a possible exemption might be:

* Documented threat of violence in the last 24 months
* Restraining order in effect
* Health-related concerns
* Other
The Union had asked that the “Other”, item be left as an open option for those who simply don’t want to participate, but we could not get Management to agree.

If you don’t want your full name on the badge, here is what you do.

1. Call the Union office and see if your letter is on file from the board report. This makes the exemption fairly easy.
2. If the Union does not have a record of a previous letter, apply for an exemption through Human Resources.
3. If HR concludes that you should not be exempt from the process, contact the Union and we will write a personal grievance for you.

We are ready and willing to write any number of grievances to ensure our members safety. This policy serves to glamourize a branding process of public service and fails to take into account that we already have respectful, trusting and caring relationship with the public. Members do not have to endanger their lives to support a what is touted as a future trend.

in solidarity