April 20 Message To Membership

Dear 391 Vancouver family,

Thank you to the approximately 125 of you that tuned in to our Thursday Zoom session. It was great to see your names in the chat box and feel connected in that way. I’m looking forward to doing it again this week. Generally we will be recording the sessions for viewing later – unfortunately the April 16 one was not recorded due to technical difficulties (read user error by me.)

We’ve had a member pass on information (thanks Emily!) about the People’s Law School webinar on EI and Emergency Benefits for Workers happening tomorrow, Tuesday April 21, at 12:00 pm. If you are unable to attend the webinar, you may still find some helpful material on their website.

We continue to work through issues with the Employer around the LOU Framework. As you know, we are not in agreement with the plans to prorate vacation banks for the year but at this point they are clear on their position and will be proceeding as planned. This means that it is important for you to make your decision regarding drawing down on banks based on the prorated amount. At this time they are also not planning any changes to policy regarding deferral and so please keep that in mind as well. We continue to have discussions and will keep you informed of any progress we make.

I have had weekly conference calls through our CUPE National Representative with other library system union leaders in the area and today VP Tanya Ferry joined in.The call was expanded to include as many BC representatives as possible and we discussed the Provincial grant for digital resources, Federal wage subsidy programs, and the various ways of delivering service that may be a consideration in the months to come. We know that libraries are essential to the health of a community and will be crucial in the implementation of a recovery plan. While we aren’t in a position yet to determine a timeline, it is not too soon to be contemplating how and with what kinds of safety measures we might look at a gradual return to service delivery or alternate ways of delivering services. We have heard from many of you with concerns for our patrons and a desire to be doing our valuable work during this time. We of course have also heard from a great number of you with concerns about returning too soon or without appropriate safety measures. We will be discussing and exploring ways to balance these concerns moving forward and have informed the Employer that we expect to be an active participant in any planning underway.

Finally, we have purposely slowed down the amount of correspondence you are receiving from us. We know that it has been an overwhelming amount of information coming at you pretty much every day – we have certainly found much of this overwhelming. The plan for now is a weekly email on Mondays and the Zoom session on Thursdays. Please check our website or email info@cupe391.ca in between these times. Of course, should something come up that can’t wait we will email you.

Please continue to reach out to each other, us, EFAP, and other supports available to you. We can’t underestimate how challenging this time is for everyone around us, even for those who appear to be doing just fine. Our empathy, intelligence, and creativity will pull us through.

In solidarity,