Tuesday March 15, 2022 | SIDNEY, BC [Updated 9:45 am]
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
Vancouver Island librarians who are currently on strike are stoked about their BCGEU president Stephanie Smith and some of the union bargaining committee coming to take part in their picket line at Sidney/NorthSaanich branch today Tuesday March 15.
The action will take place from 10 am to 12 noon.
Since March 9, picket lines have been staged outdoors in front of VIRL library branches in Duncan, Chemanius, and Ladysmith. Always peaceful and friendly. People honk their horns driving by and also stop to chat with the librarians.
“If librarians are loud, you know it’s bad”, it was stated on one picket sign, playing on the usual expectation of quiet in a library.
The grand opening of the new Sooke Library has been postponed (originally scheduled for March 26).
About librarians on strike:
The Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) has been dealing with BCGEU Local 702 negotiations. Wage levels and recognition of additional loads during the pandemic are key issues on the table.
A few offers have already gone back and forth. But now with the grand opening postponed, it’s clear that VIRL leadership needs to focus on the bigger picture for now.
There are 48 librarians working in the VIRL system, of which 43 are permanent and the others part-time. On March 2 job action could begin. Librarians wore buttons.
On March 9 there was a picket line at the Cowichan Branch in Duncan. On March 13 there was a picket line at the Chemanius branch. On March 14 the picket line was at the branch in Ladysmith. The fourth picket line is today March 15 at the Sidney/North Saanich branch.
The BCGEU ask:
“The bottom line is any wage offer that doesn’t include cost of living protection (COLA) is a wage cut and no worker should be expected to take a wage cut—especially not the public service workers who kept our families safe and our province operating over everything the last two years has thrown at us,” said BCGEU President Stephanie Smith in a news release yesterday.
“The BCGEU bargaining committee sees the stall as a temporary setback and remains optimistic about reaching a deal at the bargaining table before the current agreement expires,” it was stated in the March 14 BCGEU news release.
===== ABOUT THE WRITER:
Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke has been following the news of VIRL and the development of launching a new Sooke Library since 2009. She attended many community open houses hosted by the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) in Sooke over the years, as well as the on-site construction tour in June 2021.
Island Social Trends was previously West Shore Voice News (2014-2020), and before that Sooke Voice News (2011-2013) and MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010).
The Island Social Trends office is located in Langford, BC.
VIRL postpones Sooke Library grand opening due to librarian strike (March 13, 2022)
Vancouver Island librarians going on strike (February 28, 2022)
New Sooke Library set to open after Family Day 2022 (February 10, 2022)
Sooke Library construction gets underway mid-October (Oct 19, 2020)
Survey about new Sooke Library open to Nov 30 (Oct 8, 2020)
New day for Sooke: library construction to begin (Sept 22, 2020)
Sooke Library programs in January 2020 (Jan 1, 2020)
Sooke Library development dealing with permit hurdle (June 15, 2019)