Union members working in Victoria’s public library system and their employers await mediation after talks crumbled Saturday.
“After bargaining collaboratively for more than a year to make significant progress on key issues, the employer presented workers with a list of concession demands,” says Helen Hughes, CUPE 410 president. “The employer refuses to move on its concession demands and refuses to answer key questions about sweeping changes proposed to scheduling and use of auxiliary workers.”
Local 410 members who work for the Greater Victoria Public Library voted more than 85 per cent in favour of strike action during a Sunday vote taken after talks broke between the union and representatives of the GVPL and Greater Victoria Labour Relations Association.
The GVLRA engaged in eight days of negotiating with the CUPE 410 bargaining team, says Kevin Murdoch, chair of the GVLRA board.
“It hasn’t been an acrimonious process… I think both sides are committed to getting to a deal,” Murdoch said. “We’ll keep trying to engage with the union leadership and find that settlement.”
They’ve applied for mediation provided through the B.C. Labour Relations Board – mediation process must take place prior to job action.
“Job action is not what we want to do, but our members are frustrated,” Hughes says. “We really want to get this settled in a fair way for everyone. We’re very hopeful that can be done.”
The employer proposes replacing existing employees with staff paid less and with fewer workplace rights, according to Hughes.
“While we remain committed to a negotiated resolution, we need the employers’ co-operation in producing a fair settlement at the bargaining table.”
CUPE 410 represents 240 workers at the Greater Victoria Public Library located at sites across the capital region.