Thursday March 3, 2022 | VANCOUVER ISLAND, BC [Last update 9:25 am]
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
A strike by librarians at branches of the Vancouver Island Regional Library has not been averted. Apparently today librarians who are members of BCGEU Local 702 will wear BCGEU buttons, but VIRL says “library services are not expected to be impacted today”.
Librarians in the Vancouver Island Regional Library branches served strike notice on February 25. Job action could then happen as soon as 8 am tomorrow morning, March 3. And now that is the case.
“The employer made an offer after the union issued strike notice but it still wasn’t fair or respectful,” said BCGEU in a statement this morning.
“Librarians are proceeding with preparations for job action and will continue to keep the community informed about when they will begin,” it was stated by BCGEU.
“We welcome a fair and respectful offer from the employer,” says BCGEU this morning.
Revised offer submitted to Local 702:
“At this time, we are awaiting an update from the mediator,” said David Carson, Corporate Communications and Strategic Initiatives, VIRL, yesterday.
VIRL Board Chair is Gaby Wickstrom, who joined the VIRL board in 2019. She represents the Town of Port McNeill. Erin Hemmens of the City of Nanaimo council is VIRL’s vice-chair.
VIRL and BCGEU have been bargaining the expired BCGEU Collective Agreement (January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2020) since September 2021.
- VIRL says the negotiations reached an impasse over wages and term.
- BCGEU says the librarians felt greatly disrespected during their added efforts in the past two years of COVID pandemic conditions, and also want a pay schedule tied to the cost of living.
Carson says today that VIRL “remains committed to working with BCGEU on a solution to this impasse and is hopeful its members will accept the new offer, thereby avoiding a strike”.
Yesterday BCGEU President Stephanie Smith said that they hoped VIRL would come back to the negotiating table, that leadership of VIRL directors (who are elected by municipal councils around Vancouver Island) is desirable.
On Tuesday, February 22, BCGEU notified VIRL that its members had voted 95% in favour of a strike mandate. On the afternoon of Friday, February 25, BCGEU served 72-hour strike notice.
On Monday, February 28, 2022, VIRL’s Executive Committee provided guidance to VIRL management on a renewed bargaining mandate. The assigned Labour Relations Board mediator was re-engaged soon thereafter.
VIRL library branches are in municipalities and communities on Vancouver Island, outside the Greater Victoria area.
Strike situation updates:
VIRL’s updates on the strike situation will be posted on their website at https://virl.bc.ca/updates/
VIRL & BCGEU librarians back to the table (March 2, 2022)
Vancouver Island librarians ‘learned their worth’ during COVID (March 1, 2022)
Vancouver Island librarians going on strike (February 28, 2022)