VIRL re-engaging mediator in hopes of ending impasse
April 9, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Saturday, April 9, 2022 – Following a productive discussion at the April 9 Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) Board of Trustees meeting, VIRL is re-engaging the assigned Labour Relations Board mediator in hopes of ending the ongoing impasse and labour disruption impacting VIRL branches and communities.
“I know I speak for my fellow Trustees when I say we care deeply about all VIRL employees,” says Gaby Wickstrom, Chair of the VIRL Board of Trustees. “We are grateful for staff’s tireless commitment through the pandemic, and the many challenges they face in their service to the public. As Trustees in charge of administering VIRL’s budget, part of our job is to ensure fair wage increases for staff while balancing the financial burden to our communities. The long shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic further exacerbates these challenges, but the Board is confident that a resumption of cooperative bargaining will lead us to a mutually acceptable outcome.”
VIRL is committed to ending this impasse at the bargaining table and is hopeful BCGEU will be amenable to recommencing discussions in the days ahead. The next step will be to re-engage the mediator and find mutually agreeable dates and times for bargaining.
It is noteworthy that since all BCGEU members went on strike on March 30, unpicketed VIRL branches have remained open and accessible thanks to the efforts of VIRL’s CUPE staff, including Circulation Supervisors, Library Assistants, and Information Technicians. These frontline CUPE staff and Library Pages have ensured our communities continue to receive critical library service, with non-branch support from CUPE and Exempt colleagues in numerous departments.
BCGEU issued strike notice on February 25 and picketing began on March 8 at rotating locations. Since then, the strike has escalated with all BCGEU members now on strike and multiple locations impacted daily. VIRL has made several attempts to end the impasse with what it believes are fair and competitive offers. This has been a challenging time for all, and we sincerely regret the inconvenience to our communities and library users.
Further updates will be provided when dates for bargaining are set.
More information about the strike is available at virl.bc.ca/updates.
David Carson, Director, Corporate Communications