Friday March 4, 2022 | VANCOUVER ISLAND, BC [Updated 3:45 pm]
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
“It is regrettable that an agreement has not yet been achieved,” says the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) today.
Yesterday, March 3, 2022, VIRL learned that members of the British Columbia General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) Local 702 at Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) had rejected the employer’s March 01, 2022 proposal.
As of yesterday, BCGEU members could legally strike at any time, but services remain available, say VIRL.
At 2:30 pm today, BCGEU said that librarians working in VIRL will begin escalated job action starting Wednesday, March 9 “should they not receive a serious offer from the employer”.
Focus on mediation:
“VIRL remains focused on the mediation process,” as stated by the VIRL organization today March 4.
“The latest VIRL proposal included two term options, each featuring compensation increases beyond those previously tabled, and an agreement would have included the numerous non-monetary provisions recently bargained,” the employer says.
VIRL and BCGEU had been bargaining the expired BCGEU Collective Agreement (January 1, 2016 – December 31, 2020) since September, 2021.
Points of view:
- According to VIRL, the negotiations reached an impasse over wages and term, despite substantive agreement on numerous non-monetary components.
- Earlier this week, 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. Today BCGEU said “all they’ve received is delays, unfair proposals and disrespectful treatment — and that’s just during bargaining”.
Contacting your municipal rep:
Local 702 Chair Joanna Lord has posted on Facebook that people can support their community librarians by letting their municipal or regional elected rep on the VIRL Board know that “librarians deserve respect, a safe workplace and a fair agreement”.
For Sooke the rep is District of Sooke Councillor Jeff Bateman. For Juan de Fuca (west of Sooke, and also East Sooke) the rep is CRD Regional Director Mike Hicks. For the Town of Sidney the rep is Peter Wainwright. For the Cowichan Valley Regional District the rep is Mike Wilson. VIRL board members are from communities around Vancouver Island, from parts of Greater Victoria to Port Hardy including the Gulf Islands, Haida Gwaii and Bella Coola. See all VIRL board member info.
On March 3, librarians in Local 702 wrote a group letter to all trustees of the VIRL board [see letter – PDF].
On Tuesday, February 22, BCGEU notified VIRL that its members had voted 95% in favour of a strike mandate.
On February 25, BCGEU filed 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.
On March 01, VIRL offered a new proposal through the assigned Labour Relations Board mediator.
===== VIRL branches:
VIRL library branches are in municipalities and communities on Vancouver Island, outside the Greater Victoria area.
===== VIRL Strike situation updates:
VIRL’s updates on the strike situation will be posted on their website at https://virl.bc.ca/updates/
===== RELATED ARTICLES:
VIRL offer not fair or respectful says BCGEU (March 3, 2022)
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)