Home Organizations & Associations Vancouver Island Library Board VIRL receives librarian counter-proposal

VIRL receives librarian counter-proposal

VIRL is optimistic an agreement will surface now that discussions will recommence.

Tuesday March 22, 2022 | SOOKE, BC [Updated March 23, 2022]

by Mary P Brooke, Editor | Island Social Trends

Last week Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) was standing by for a revised counter-proposal from British Columbia General Employees Union (BCGEU) Local 702.

That ship has come in. Today VIRL as the employer says: “We reached out to the union and they accepted our proposal to return to mediated bargaining.”

sooke library, strike
BCGEU librarians on strike, joined on the picket line by CUPE workers and other supporters, on March 18, 2022, out the front of the new Sooke Library on Wadams Way. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Positive sign:

“We see this as a positive sign that the two sides can once again move closer to an agreement,” says David Carson, Director, Corporate Communications, VIRL.

“We respect our members’ right to picket and remain hopeful that a mutually agreeable resolution will be found soon,” says Carson.

“A resolution will only be found at the bargaining table and we are optimistic an agreement will surface now that discussions will recommence,” Carson told Island Social Trends today.

Letters to board members:

The BCGEU librarians have been encouraging the public to write letters or emails to their local elected representatives who sit on the VIRL board of directors, to express their support for librarians and library services.

virl chair, gaby wickstrom
VIRL Board Chair Gaby Wickstrom.

Board Chair is Gaby Wickstrom (a town councillor from Port McNeill). In the Sooke and Juan de Fuca area, the board reps are District of Sooke Councillor Jeff Bateman and CRD Regional Director for Juan de Fuca Mike Hicks.

Municipalities pay into the VIRL budget, with funds levied from the taxpayers in their 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

“We have received general correspondence pertaining to the strike but nothing specific to Sooke so far,” says Carson on behalf of VIRL.

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Sooke Library opening postponed:

The grand opening of the new Sooke Library had been scheduled for March 26, but that grand opening event has been postponed due to the worker job action (as first reported by Island Social Trends on March 13).

sooke library, virl, signage
VIRL signage at the new Sooke Library branch parking lot entrance. [Island Social Trends – March 2022]

A new date for the opening has not yet been announced.

The new Sooke Branch on Wadams Way opened to public use on Friday February 25. Since then, the community has “flocked to the library” says Carson.

The branch has seen a surge in VIRL card registrations, as many as 25 per day. Most of the 663 registrations at the new branch have been registrations by adults (56.5%) and young children (29.9%), also with some registrations by youth ages 13 to 18 (13.6%).

virl, sooke, opening

Picket lines:

To start, four picket lines were held outside VIRL library branches,one day at at time: Duncan, Chemanius, Ladysmith and Sidney/North Saanich. On March 16 there was a picket line at the Campbell River branch, and at the Port McNeill branch on March 17. On Friday March 18 there were five locations with picket lines on that one day: Port Hardy, Comox, Qualicum Beach, Sooke, and South Cowichan.

Yesterday there were picket lines at Nanaimo North, Nanaimo Harbourfront, and Creativity Commons branches. Today the picket lines are active at: Nanaimo Harbourfront and Creativity Commons, Campbell River, and Sidney/North Saanich.

library, sooke, picket
BCGEU librarians on strike, joined on the picket line by CUPE workers and other supporters, on March 18, 2022, out the front of the new Sooke Library on Wadams Way. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

VIRL generally posts the strike locations for the information of their patrons, usually saying that other branches will not be impacted on those days.

===== LINKS:

VIRL strike updates | VIRL news releases | BCGEU news updates


Mary Brooke, editor, West Shore Voice News
Mary P Brooke, Editor and Publisher, Island Social Trends.

Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke has been covering the long saga of the new Sooke Library development since 2009. News was first published in MapleLine Magazine, then Sooke Voice News, and West Shore Voice News before that publication series morphed into the region-wide online news portal at www.islandsocialtrends.ca .


Strike Day 16: picketing at Sooke Library (March 18, 2022)

VIRL hopes for counter-proposal soon (March 15, 2022)

Mitzi Dean

VIRL librarians welcome BCGEU president at Sidney branch picket line (March 15, 2022)

VIRL postpones Sooke Library grand opening due to librarian strike (March 13, 2022)

VIRL offer to Local 702 librarians includes non-monetary provisions (March 4, 2022)

Vancouver Island librarians going on strike (February 28, 2022)

New Sooke Library set to open after Family Day 2022 (February 10, 2022)

New VIRL executive director now 4-months-in (January 2, 2022)

Sooke Library now open for computer use, DVDs, takeout, reference (November 18, 2020)

Sooke Library construction gets underway mid-October (October 19, 2020)

Survey about new Sooke Library open to Nov 30 (October 8, 2020)

New day for Sooke: library construction to begin (September 22, 2020)

Sooke Library programs in January 2020 (January 1, 2020)

Sooke Library development dealing with permit hurdle (June 15, 2019)