On Thursday March 3, 2022, all 48 BCGEU members working as librarians for the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) submitted a group letter to the library's Board Trustees.
Read their letter here.
The letter called on all 38 trustees to ensure that librarians' next collective agreement provides them with fundamental support – including a psychologically safe and respectful workplace, and wages that align with other libraries and lessen the impact of cost of living and inflation – which are needed to continue serving their communities.
In sending the letter, the librarians hope that the trustees will urge VIRL management, who they oversee, to make the librarians a respectful and fair offer immediately and prevent any further job action and subsequent impacts on the community.
Librarians do NOT want to take job action. They WANT to return to negotiations, and they want a fair collective agreement that recognizes the value of their work to the communities they serve. However, without a fair and respectful offer, they will be forced to escalate their actions.
Echo your VIRL librarians' call by tweeting at your local or regional VIRL Board Trustee! Add their Twitter handle (which you can find here) to the following tweet:
Hey [insert your trustee's handle] and @VI_Library board, please #respectVIRLlibrarians by giving them a fair and respectful offer! We need our library services!: https://bit.ly/3KgZW9z
The VIRL Board of Trustees includes elected representatives from 28 member municipalities and 10 regional districts from across Vancouver Island, from parts of Greater Victoria to Port Hardy including the Gulf Islands, Haida Gwaii and Bella Coola. VIRL board trustees are responsible for guiding and supporting the library system's operations including the hiring of executive and management staff who are responsible for bargaining with librarians.
VIRL librarians have been without a contract since December 2020. Bargaining did not begin until September 2021, delayed due to the employer. Despite intervention from a mediator, negotiations hit impasse in mid-February 2022. Librarians then voted 95% in favour of striking for their needs, and despite hearing that result and receiving 72-hour strike notice, the employer has still not provided a fair and respectful offer to librarians. As of Thursday, March 3, librarians have been in a legal position to take job action.
Follow #respectVIRLlibrarians on Twitter and Instagram for updates.