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BCGEU librarians ratify collective agreement with Vancouver Island Regional Library - BC General Employees' Union (BCGEU)

BURNABY, B.C. (COAST SALISH TERRITORIES) – Seven months after starting bargaining and almost seven weeks after starting job action, members of the BC General Employees’ Union (BCGEU) working as librarians for the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) have voted almost 90% in favour of ratifying a new collective agreement.
“This has been a challenging round of bargaining, but these members stuck together and achieved the deal they were looking for from the start,” said BCGEU vice-president, Joanna Lord. “Through their solidarity and thanks to incredible support from library users and the labour movement, BCGEU members working for VIRL demanded better – and they got it.”
On April 11, the bargaining committee reached a tentative agreement with their employer. The tentative agreement was ratified by a strong majority of the bargaining unit on April 19. The VIRL board ratified the agreement the following day. The new four-year agreement is effective from December 31, 2020, to December 31, 2024, and the new terms are retroactive to its start date.
Highlights from the agreement include wage improvements totalling over 12 per cent plus a $500 signing bonus for all active employees. These wage increases are important steps toward closing the wage gap between VIRL librarians and those working for other, comparable regional library systems in our province. BCGEU members working at VIRL also attained improved terms for parental leave, workload, and workplace harassment.
“All workers in B.C. deserve respect in their workplace and a wage that keeps pace with the high cost of living in this province,” said Lord. “That’s what these negotiations were about from day one and that’s what this deal represents for our members."
The collective agreement covers 48 members at 39 VIRL branches.
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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.