TORONTO, Oct. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - Vancouver Public Library (VPL) workers
and their fight for pay equity were in the national spotlight today, as
delegates to CUPE's 23rd national convention lined up to pledge donations to
the cash-strapped members of CUPE 391, who have been on strike since July 26.
The union local, represented by president Alex Youngberg, member at large
Inder Pannu, and members Randy Gatley and Aili Meutzner, were onstage at
convention to share their struggle with delegates. Their appearance followed
an emotionally charged presentation by representatives of workers from Le
Journal de Quebec, who have been locked out by their employer, the corporate
media giant Quebecor, since April 22.
"It was from the courageous example set by Le Journal's workers that we
learned to build coalitions and take ownership of our strike, and we are in
solidarity with you," said Youngberg.
"I thank CUPE National and CUPE BC for their support and mentoring
throughout the strike, and members across the country who have supported our
cause for pay equity. But most of all I thank the membership of CUPE 391,
because all those creative actions-the bicycle pickets, the puppet shows-came
from our membership. It was a real participatory practice, which is why we
were so successful in raising awareness about the gender discrimination
inherent in our contract."
Vancouver's 800 library workers have been on strike for 86 days and
without a contract for 289 days. Forced into job action by the employer's
unwillingness to bargain, CUPE 391 members have been fighting for four key
issues: pay equity, improvements for part-time and auxiliary workers, improved
job security language and better health benefits.
Representatives of CUPE 391 have been meeting with representatives of the
Vancouver Public Library and Metro Vancouver Labour Relations Bureau to
discuss adjustments to mediator Brian Foley's recommendations, which were
rejected by 78.1 per cent of the membership on October 9. While a tentative
agreement has not yet been reached, further discussions are expected to take
place between the parties.
For further information:
For further information: Alexandra Youngberg, CUPE 391 president, (604)
908-6095; Wendy Forbes, CUPE Communications, (416) 892-8716; Dan Gawthrop,
CUPE Communications, (604) 999-6132