The Year in Review and What Might be Coming Down the Pike

Hello CUPE 391 – Happy New Year!
What is in the cards for those of us striving to protect the public good, the public library?
1.Vision Vancouver  is in for another three years.  They control City Council, Parks Board and the School Board.  There was an unfortunate split on the votes and our friend Ellen Woodsworth did not secure a seat on council.  Ellen has raised her voice and carried the message for many of the less privileged in this City.  She is necessary force of good for all, not for a few, and we hope to assist her back into the realm of political activity.

We look forward to working with Mayor Robertson and city council to make the public library system continue to be accessible for all.  Remember, it was Gregor Robertson who instructed us to approach the Library Board and ask for Social Return on Investment study for the library and we got it.  It will be getting a workout this year when we prepare for the public hearings on the operating budget;

I am reading the City of Vancouver’s preliminary budget report (see to see what the future may hold for us.  Some of the news is good, some not so good.  Applications for development are up at the City but that does not translate into instant money for the operating budget.  The shortfall OF $52,000,000 will likely be pared down between now and the end of March, 2012, as the City staff strive to find savings.  The good news is that the tax shift from business to property owners (Municipal Tax Levy Distribution) is in its final year.  There will be an approximate .25 % shift to the property owners from business this year and that is it! (p.10)

In report note:
Summary of Budget pressures p. 2
Project Summary: Outcomes to date of Vancouver Service Review, Shared Services, etc.  p. 5
Note: incremental savings related to the VSR transformation opportunities will be considered in the final 2012 budget.  This is the last year of the VSR project. Next steps: Warehousing and Manufacturing; Public Works

Preliminary Budget position – shows where the shortfall is p. 9

Public Consultation:
phone survey – 500+ responses
Budget Basics information booklet – how and where taxes are spent
central web hub – with a budget calculator tool
public open house

See Appendix I for revenues and revenue expenditures

2. Bargaining
We are confident that the proposals ratified at the December 4. 2011 meeting reflect the issues raised in the bargaining surveys, committees, shop stewards and single members.  It was very interesting study in union democracy.  Further definitions of bargaining language and regional issues will be presenting themselves. See for bargaining blogs, bulletins.  At this time we have not served notice.  This action signifies the official commencement of the collective bargaining process and can be delivered by either party.  However, should neither party to the agreement serve notice to commence bargaining, then the Code provides that the notice is deemed to have been given 90 days prior to expiry of the agreement.

Bargaining will be managed for the Employer by Roper Greyall, Employment and Labour lawyers.  They represented the City of Vancouver during the round of bargaining with the police.  The VPD managed to get theri first contract ever without going to labour mediation.  We are cautiously optimistic.

We have signed off on an Letter of Understanding for RFID (radio frequency identity tagging).  Normally, the Union would grieve all jobs that were vacant and not posted.  As the technology of RFID does replace some of the circulation job description, it is a losing proposition.  What is a win for the Union is that now all vacant positions have to properly benchmarked to prove that the work is still there or not.  I have been trying to get this through the grievance process for about six years.  Also, RFID will be discussed at the joint Technological Change and Classification committees rather that separate committees that are not union appointed.  The letter will be posted with our other LOUs on the CUPE 391 website.

We are very close to signing off on a new Jobshare letter of understanding.  It will be very like the CUPE 15 letter.
Improvements benefits for part-timers with 4 regular hours in addition to their job share hours – if a P/T employee has 4 or more Regular Part Time hours in addition to their job share hours, these can be added to the 17.5 job-share hours to make 20+ hours and thus are eligible for benefits.
Options for sharing beyond 50/50. Hours of work for each of the participants in a job hare unit may be shared on a 50/50 split (17.5 hours each) or a 60/40 split (21 + 14 hours each) and an 80/20 split.

All new job-shares would be coming off the compressed. The Employer has said that they will not approve job shares on a compress and or will cancel current LOU, so the point becomes moot.  The new Letter has some definite benefits.  Talk to your Job-share committee about it and come to the General Meeting on January 25th and vote on the Letter.


Your representatives on both committees have alternated between being very fiery and restrained.  They have accomplished a set of guidelines for the classification processes (see HR manual 520) and achieve an LOU Classification Review Appeal Process letter of understanding (affectionately known as C.R.A.P.).  When the Employer requires updated job descriptions, they must now ask the Union Classification representatives to participate as we are the bargaining agent for members.  So, remember, do not go off on your own with the Employer and write your job description.  Call your union representatives.  The same applies when your position is being reviewed.  Call your representative; do not do this on your own.


Our local is very fortunate to be gifted with some terrific communications people.  We thank Chris and Erik every time we use their award-winning CUPE 391 website.  So use it more often and our great e-mail system.  Dana and Anne have done an incredible job of supporting our new Stewards committee with the Steward’s Minute.  Please use this resource at your staff meetings and share the information with your co-workers.  Dana has redesigned Off the Shelf and it is a thriving voice for our local.  Gary, our vice-president, and roaring proponent of the part timers, also contributes.  And Thank You, James, for the glorious art work for the CUPE 391 Cabaret poster.

We have three grievances heading for arbitration, one is the Terry Selman exempt manager position. The grievances vary: some letters of expectation, discipline, and ageism.  Do not try problem-solving with manager over coffee for off-the-record conversations.  These conversations have shown up in three grievances as proof of insubordinate behaviour.  The kind of labour relations where issues could be problem-solved was practiced in the 1990’s but has not been in evidence much in the last nine years.  Get help from your Grievance Committee. We are good at what we do and remarkably tenacious.  The talent is first-rate; we could definitely use more support.  There is a budget for education and labor relations experience looks great on your resume.

We had a union representative from the RSI committee attend telecommuting situation lately.  Our member has some excellent resources and practices for proper ergonomic conditions.  This member is also on the Wellness Committee (new members are welcome) so we might look at creating a bibliography of useful ergonomic websites.  I was very impressed with our members knowledge.

The fabulous David Philip and his partner Sloane Garrett’s videos have been featured on Shaw’s channel 4.  The final night to catch these videos is tomorrow, Saturday January 6th at 7 pm on Channel 4..  ICTV and Shaw TV have put together a 30 minute programme which includes the films:

Exploring The Vancouver Public Library (re-edited to include Terry Salman Branch)
VPL at Work (made for the Vancouver CLA conference)
Terry Salman Branch Opens!
also includes the poignant farewell to Riley Park branch
The show times were and are:

Sat. Dec 31, 10:30 PM
Mon. Jan 2, 11:00 AM
Sat. Jan 7, 10:30 PM

These men also brought us the CUPE 391 Cabaret with a naughty award-winning movie and a cast of thousands of itinerant library workers.  Some excellent local poets (some from staff) and Adrian Dix turned up to watch his wife, Renee Saklikar perform.  A big thanks to our tireless talent promoter, Todd Wong for managing the poetry presentation.  BC wine and cheese was served.

Environmental Awareness

Our Environmental Awareness Committee’s chair, Keith Edwards, is getting some recognition for his work.  Our Keith has been appointed to VPL’s Sustainability Committee.  Keith has also worked along with the Peddle Pushers Committee and Union/Management Committee in lobbying for 40 more bike spaces.  Everyone’s persistence has paid off.  This is where common cause between union and management works so well.  May it flourish in the years to come.

Pensions – CPP

you need to be aware that changes to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) have been finalized and those changes will be put into effect January 1, 2012.  While these changes are being implemented over a five-year period their intention is to encourage
workers to remain in the workforce longer and not to collect their CPP early.  The new changes bring a greater reduction in benefits at age 60 and a greater increase up to age 70. The table outlines the percentage of reduction that will be phased in over the next five years. Once you begin receiving CPP and decide not to return to work, the percentage increase or decrease is permanent. CPP is indexed annually, and your pension will adjust based on increases in
the cost of living. Anyone returning to work before age 65 will recommence contributions and if you are returning to work between ages 65 and 70, you have a choice to contribute or not.  On January 1, 2012, if you are working or not, contributors can begin receiving their CPP benefits. If you continue to work and receive CPP benefits, you must continue to contribute to CPP until age 65. You will receive a Canada Pension Plan Statement of Contributions from Service Canada which outlines CPP contribution history and projects an anticipated CPP benefit at age 65. If you have not received a CPP statement in the last two years, contact Service Canada at 1-877-454- 4051 and ask for one.

Our defined benefits municipal pension plan is become a rare object of desire.  It is a guaranteed for life pension and produces the best results over time.  Our pension plan is jointly trusteed thanks to the former NDP government.  These are one of the many benefits of being a union member.

Ken Haycock’s Scope
No RFP was put out for a review of the organization and the responsibilities of the Directors and Managers.  Ken Haycock was offered this opportunity for $15,000.  There is no published report as of yet, but a powerpoint presentation that was shown to exempt staff has staff and the membership buzzing with some knowledge and some speculation,  Ken Haycock will be giving a verbal presentation at the Library Board meeting on January 25, 5.30 pm.  Phone or email Chysalyn Tolentino if you wish to attend.  The question is being bruited about whether it will be in camera or not.  I have reminded Sandra Singh of Clause 6. Changes Affecting the Agreement – we are to be accorded reasonable time to consider the material and make a representation.

Look at what is happening to the C.A.W. Electro-motive plant in London, Ontario, recently taken over by Caterpillar.  Shades of HEU and Bill 29.  The proposal to half their wages will leave the workers with less than a living wage.  Axing their pensions will reduce them to penury.  Thank our North America trade acts for allowing these foreign organisations to bring their third world practices into our country and reshape it to suit their endless, glutinous greed.  If our country’s parliament does not stop these anti-labour practices, then the only conclusion we can reach is that they are in collusion with these bums.  Watch our provincial players carefully and vote with solidarity in mind in 2013.  We have fought for worklife balance and that is all we ask.  We are entitled to it because we earn it and give back in so many ways to the communities we are proud to serve.  And we are of these communities.

Thanks again to all our wonderful members who show in so many ways that we support each other as we protect our public’s service.  You have helped me this year and other members who have lost loved ones.  We are fortunate to be public library workers and part of glorious CUPE 391.