97% strike vote means Vancouver Public Library could also be closed



    Vancouver Mayor Sullivan holds key to avert possible escalating strikes
    by civic workers throughout Lower Mainland, says CUPE

    VANCOUVER, June 25 /CNW/ - Today's record 97 percent vote in favour of
strike action by Vancouver's library workers, represented by the Canadian
Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 391, means that residents can now add library
services at Vancouver Public Library to the extensive list of city services
that could be lost in the coming days if Vancouver's 5,500 city workers are
forced to strike. These services also include garbage collection, parks and
recreation programs, building inspection, building permit issuance and city
hall services.
    "We are dismayed," says Ed Dickson, CUPE 391 Bargaining Committee Chair.
"There is no justification for the shameful demands the employer is making -
demands to establish lower wages, demands to cut our benefits and access to
sick leave. Vancouver's library workers deserve a fair contract."
    Dickson shares the same concerns as Vancouver's inside and outside
workers about the incredible stubbornness and unwillingness of the employer's
bargainers to negotiate.
    "Not a single library workers' issue has been addressed in the days of
talks that took place," says Dickson. The library workers are seeking to
address pay equity concerns, fair treatment of part time and auxiliary staff,
benefit improvements and protection against contracting out.
    CUPE says responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of Mayor Sam
Sullivan to seek a political solution to avert a massive civic strike in
Vancouver that could escalate to the entire Lower Mainland and affect
everything from Olympic construction to tourism. Civic workers in Vancouver,
whose contracts expired six months ago, face some of the most regressive
take-away demands, like the demand to freeze the wages of Vancouver's 150
building service workers until after the Olympics.
    "Mayor Sullivan holds the key," says Paul Faoro, President of CUPE 15,
which represents Vancouver's inside workers. "All Mayor Sullivan needs to do
to avert a strike is to instruct bargainers to stop demanding to take away
worker rights, wages and benefits and negotiate fair contracts with the public
employees that make Vancouver work." Faoro is particularly disappointed that
Mayor Sullivan has denied union requests to meet to help find a political
solution to the intensifying dispute.
    Last week, Vancouver's outside workers, including garbage workers who
receive trash from across the GVRD at the Vancouver Landfill, voted 96 percent
in favour of strike action.
    "During hard economic times, city workers have sacrificed and taken
zeros, but now it is time to honour that sacrifice with fair contracts that
improve workers lives - not contracts that make it even more difficult for
workers to take care of their families and make ends meet," says CUPE BC
President Barry O'Neill. "Without fairness, there will be no labour peace in
the Lower Mainland this summer."
    CUPE 391 represents the 790 employees of Vancouver Public Library. They
are the seventh group of workers in the Lower Mainland to register
exceptionally high strike votes. Currently three quarters of the region's
12,000 civic workers are in strike ready position including civic workers in
Burnaby, North Vancouver District, North Vancouver Recreation Commission,
Delta, and Vancouver. They all bargain with representatives of the GVRD Labour
Relations Department hired by their elected municipal politicians.
    The public is urged to prevent a disruption in civic services by
contacting their Mayor and Council via e-mail at
www.fairnessforcivicworkers.ca
    As part of their campaign for fairness, civic workers throughout the
region can be seen wearing their respective official civic flags to work to
show the pride they have in the services they provide. To see these flags,
please visit the campaign website.





For further information:

For further information: Ed Dickson, CUPE 391 Bargaining Committee Chair
(Vancouver Public Library workers), (604) 322-4879; Paul Faoro, CUPE 15
President (Vancouver inside workers), (604) 202-1829; Mike Jackson, CUPE 1004
President (Vancouver outside workers), (778) 908-8070; Barry O'Neill, CUPE BC
President, (604) 340-6768; Diane Kalen, CUPE Communications, (778) 229-0258

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