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July 10, 2012

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Okanagan Library Workers still without a contract

KELOWNA—Job action continues in the Okanagan this week, as library workers continue their strike to achieve a fair collective agreement.

Van drivers will again be off the job this week, and until further notice CUPE members will not be collecting money for the sale of promotional items (book bags, t-shirts, etc.), facility and room rentals or photocopier fees.

Rose Jurkic, CUPE 1123 president, says that library workers continue to find ways to minimize the impact strike actions have on patrons.

“Okanagan library workers encourage the community to come and use the library’s many services and facilities, while we aren’t collecting fees we are remaining open to serve our community.”

Okanagan library workers have now been without a contract for 19 months.

However, in other parts of the province libraries are successfully settling collective agreements. Since 2009, nine libraries have ratified new collective agreements and all have done so without mediation, arbitration or strike action.

The Fraser Valley Regional Library and Vancouver Island Regional Library are the most recent libraries to settle collective agreements. Library workers in both areas achieved wage increases of at least two percent in each year of their respective contracts.

“CUPE’s bargaining team is ready to get back to the table and negotiate,” says Jurkic. “Modest wage improvements and extended benefit improvements remain our top priorities, strike action will continue until the library board can present us with a fair and reasonable offer.”

CUPE 1123 represents more than 150 library workers who provide front-line services to their communities at 16 different branches throughout the Okanagan region.

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