Tuesday March 15, 2022 | VANCOUVER ISLAND, BC [Updated March 16, 2022]
Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) says it is standing by for a revised counter-proposal from British Columbia General Employees Union (BCGEU) Local 702 and looks forward to negotiating a mutually respectful agreement with the librarians who work in the VIRL libraries.
On March 1, 2022, VIRL made its latest bargaining proposal to BCGEU Local 702. VIRL’s proposal includes librarian total compensation ahead of the sector average and beyond the levels that BCGEU sought during the last round of bargaining, according to David Carson, Director, VIRL Corporate Communications.
“This offer has remained on the table since it was first proposed,” it was stated in a VIRL news release around 12 noon today.
The Local 702 librarians held a picket line outside the Sidney/North Saanich Branch from 10 am to 12 noon today. BCGEU President Stephanie Smith attended that event.
“Earlier this month, VIRL rejected BCGEU Local 702’s most recent counter-proposal for its significant departure on wage expectations, and VIRL re-committed to its standing proposal via the mediator,” it was stated by VIRL today.
Most VIRL branches in rural coastal communities:
“Unlike many other primarily urban library systems, 80 percent of the communities VIRL serves are rural coastal communities, grappling with post-pandemic economic recovery,” says Carson.
He says that the VIRL board feels an agreement must be sustainable for all the communities we serve. | VIRL Branches
Back to the bargaining table:
“We hope BCGEU Local 702 will pause its service impacting job action and return to the bargaining table with a revised counter-proposal,” says VIRL in their statement today. Job action started March 2, with librarians wearing buttons identifying their union.
So far, four picket lines have been held outside VIRL library branches (in Duncan, Chemanius, Ladysmith and Sidney). Tomorrow March 16 there will be a picket line at the Campbell River branch, and at the Port McNeill branch on March 17. [Update March 17: There will be active picket lines at five branches on Friday March 18 “throughout regular operating hours”: Port Hardy, Comox, Qualicum Beach, Sooke, and South Cowichan. The union says in a statement that they hope library users and community members will not cross the picket lines.]
VIRL generally posts the strike locations for the information of their patrons, usually saying that other branches will not be impacted on those days.
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