/
/
/
/
/
Powell River library workers vote to strike, plan to file for mediation

Powell River library workers vote to strike, plan to file for mediation

Powell River – CUPE 798 members working at the Powell River Public Library passed a strike vote with a near unanimous vote at a meeting held Thursday. The two parties have been in negotiations for more than a year to replace the last collective agreement, which expired in December 2017. The vote was called after the two parties reached an impasse in early February.

“By tabling a final offer and refusing to consider either of our counter proposal options, the Library has told us that they are done talking,” said CUPE 798 President Graham Tonks. “We are taking this action because we simply cannot accept the employer’s ‘take it or leave it’ attitude towards the legitimate matters still outstanding.”

The key issue between the parties is pay equity with other municipally funded workers. Workers are demanding action to correct the historically low and unequal wages of library workers compared to their colleagues at the City of Powell River and the qathet Regional District (qRD). Workers also point to the gap between their wages and those of other library workers in small communities like Prince Rupert and Nelson to illustrate the need for a structural wage adjustment.

“Workers at the city- and qRD-funded library should make a comparable wage to those employed by the city and qRD directly,” said Tonks. “It is unfair that our library workers’ wages start more than 10 percent lower than their colleagues at the city doing equivalent work with the same complexity, responsibility, and education and skill requirements.”

Shortly after informing Library managers of the workers’ decision to approve a strike mandate, the union began the process of filing for mediation with the BC Labour Board.

“We are applying for mediation because we remain hopeful that the parties can reach a fair settlement, even if it takes some assistance to get there,” said Tonks. “We would only interrupt library users’ access to the services they count on if we felt that there was no other option.”

CUPE 798 represents more than 215 members working at the qathet Regional District (qRD), the City of Powell River and the Powell River Public Library.

Share this
Share on facebook
Share on twitter

Latest News

CUPE members demonstrate how Education Assistants can help create thousands of new childcare spaces across BC

CUPE members demonstrate how Education Assistants can help create thousands of new childcare spaces across BC

May 20, 2022
COBBLE HILL – Arlene and Leanne are Education Assistants (EAs) in Cobble Hill, a small community in the Cowichan Valley. Together they staff the first before- and after-school program operated…
COBBLE HILL – Arlene and Leanne are Education Assistants (EAs) in Cobble Hill, a small community in the Cowichan Valley. Together they staff the first before- and after-school program operated...

Health Care presidents reissue call for more sector support

Health Care presidents reissue call for more sector support

May 19, 2022
BURNABY—The community health sector continues to suffer from systemic challenges arising from staffing shortages, workload, and mental health issues and needs more support in these areas, CUPE’s Health Care Presidents…
BURNABY—The community health sector continues to suffer from systemic challenges arising from staffing shortages, workload, and mental health issues and needs more support in these areas, CUPE’s Health Care Presidents...

Richmond school district budget must prioritize vital services for students

Richmond school district budget must prioritize vital services for students

May 18, 2022
RICHMOND– Protecting vital services students and families depend on in the Richmond School District must be the priority in tackling budget shortfalls, says the union representing Richmond public school workers….
RICHMOND– Protecting vital services students and families depend on in the Richmond School District must be the priority in tackling budget shortfalls, says the union representing Richmond public school workers....