NANAIMO – CUPE Local 401 members who work at Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) have given their bargaining committee a strong strike mandate in a vote that was counted on December 14.
“These workers are just asking to be treated fairly,” said CUPE 401 President Blaine Gurrie. “Hopefully the employer will rethink their demands and will instead value the important services our members provide to more than 3 dozen coastal communities.”
Members are unhappy with the employer’s offer that includes major concessions; does not address issues around benefits; and implements schedules that create problems with work life balance and family time for members.
A strike vote was taken at five separate member meetings and by mail-in ballots after conference calls to remote communities. Members voted overwhelmingly to go on strike if needed.
“Our members care a lot about the people and the communities they serve,” said Gurrie. “No one wants to go on strike. But the employer needs to get back to the table and seriously negotiate a fair contract.”
CUPE 401 represents more than 200 library workers providing services at Vancouver Island Regional Library, including a books by mail service to remote communities. They serve a large geographical area from Sidney, South Vancouver Island to Port Hardy and up to Haida Gwaii and Bella Coola, including many smaller islands.