Patrons suffer as Greater Victoria Public Library locks out workers

    Board decision comes despite union's repeated efforts to return to
    bargaining table

    VICTORIA, Feb. 14 /CNW/ - Yesterday's decision by the board of the
Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) to close all nine branches of the
library system and lock out its workers only serves to punish members of the
public who have made the GVPL one of the busiest library systems in Canada,
says the Canadian Union of Public Employees.
    The lockout, which begins on Sunday at 5 p.m., will affect more than
300 employees who, as members of CUPE 410, have been struggling to achieve pay
equity with equivalent City of Victoria positions during a labour dispute with
the Greater Victoria Labour Relations Association (GVLRA) that is now in its
sixth month.
    "They're not only locking us out - they're also locking out the thousands
of library patrons who depend on the service we provide," says CUPE 410
president Ed Seedhouse.
    "The library board is punishing the public to make their point, which is
that they don't want pay equity."
    Seedhouse says that the employer is misleading the public by claiming it
is eager to negotiate, noting that CUPE 410 has made at least four attempts to
return to the bargaining table but has been rejected in each case.
    "Given the many efforts we've made just to be able to talk with the
employer, Christopher Graham's quote in the board's press release - which
suggests that we need to be more willing to talk - is, frankly, ridiculous. We
have been trying to get them to talk to us for months now."
    Seedhouse said that CUPE 410 is booking a room for Monday morning and has
invited the employer to return to the table.
    "On Monday we will be prepared to bargain," he said. "The board chair has
said that we have to get back to the table, and we couldn't agree more. So
we're hoping the employer will finally be willing to do that."

For further information:

For further information: Ed Seedhouse, CUPE 410 president: (250)
588-9565; Tammy Simonds, CUPE representative: (250) 812-7197; Dan Gawthrop,
CUPE Communications: (604) 999-6132

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Canadian Union of Public Employees

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Canadian Union of Public Employees - BC Regional

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