Vancouver Librarians — Walk off the Job!

Things to forward to while the hunt continues for our employer.

On July 26, Vancouver library workers walked off the job for the first time in their 77-year history, effectively closing the city’s 21 branches. The union has asked the board to come back to the bargaining table, but as of September 4 it has not yet received a response.

“This is such an unusual position for library workers to be in, we’ve never been on strike before, but we’ve never been in a position where our local issues have been so thoroughly ignored,” said Alex Youngberg, president of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 391, which represents the city’s library workers.

The main issue championed by the union is pay equity for its female-dominated work force. Youngberg said that librarians in Toronto, where pay equity was achieved several years ago, earn $7 per hour more than those in Vancouver.

Around 770 union members are picketing across the city, including the Central branch at library square. They join the over 5,000 municipal workers in Vancouver and North Vancouver who are also on strike.

The library union made a presentation to the Library Board, its employer, on pay equity, but received no response, Youngberg said, prompting strike action. Learn more about CUPE 391 at its website and blog.