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BCGEU librarians expand pickets and escalate job action - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

BURNABY, B.C. (COAST SALISH TERRITORIES) – Members of the BC General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) working as librarians for the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) are escalating their job action starting Friday, March 18th in an ongoing effort to get the VIRL Board to issue a new wage mandate.
“We’ve said from the beginning—librarians don’t want to be on picket lines in front of their libraries, they want to get back into their libraries and back to work,” said Stephanie Smith, president of the BCGEU. “They’ve made every effort from day one of this job action to find a balance between pressuring their employer to get back to the table while minimizing the impact on their communities and their CUPE colleagues. The bottom line is, our members deserve a fair contract, and the VIRL Board has the power to end this job action by issuing a new wage mandate to get that contract settled.”
The librarians’ job action started on March 9th and has so far been limited to rotating pickets targeting single branches. That action will escalate to impact multiple branches from Sooke to Port Hardy as of Friday morning. The union’s pickets will be in effect throughout regular operating hours at the following VIRL branches:

  • Port Hardy (7110 Market Street)
  • Comox (101 – 1720 Beaufort Ave)
  • Qualicum Beach (101 – 660 Primrose Street)
  • Sooke (6671 Wadams Way)
  • South Cowichan (310 – 2720 Mill Bay Road, Mill Bay)
Union members are asking library users and community members to support their job action by joining them on the picket line or refusing to cross it should VIRL choose to keep branches open. Supporters are also asked to call on their local VIRL Board Trustee directly with a request to authorize an appropriate wage mandate for librarians.
“On behalf of these dedicated librarians, I want to thank everyone who has shown up on the picket line or written to the VIRL Board to support this job action,” Smith continued. “From library users and their CUPE co-workers, to other union members and steadfast community members, the support and solidarity has been overwhelming. It just proves what our members have always known—libraries are community hubs and communities support librarians.”
For more information, including previous media releases and picket updates, visit
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The BCGEU is B.C.'s most dynamic, diverse, and fastest growing union -- representing more than 82,000 members who work in every sector of the economy and live in every community across the province including the 48 librarians who work for the Vancouver Island Regional Library.