Saturday, August 11, 2007

Vancouver Library Workers: City Breaks Off Talks

Vancouver's three striking unions accused the city late yesterday of refusing to negotiate properly since negotiations resumed a week ago, leading the city to declare that talks had officially broken down because the unions ended the news media blackout.

A news media blackout had been in effect for a week, with no information escaping from either side. However, the union presidents decided to break that ban yesterday to discuss their frustration at how slowly negotiations had been progressing.
Alex Youngberg, the president of CUPE 391, the library workers union, said the library board refused to discuss pay equity, which has been the library workers' biggest concern since the beginning of the strike.

Marjorie Griffin Cohen, a professor of political science and women's studies at Simon Fraser University, said B.C. is one of the few provinces that do not have pay-equity legislation.

"That's why, when unions are negotiating for it, it's absolutely crucial, because that's the only way they're going to get it," Dr. Cohen said.

Vancouver librarians currently earn $7 less per hour than those in Toronto, which falls under Ontario's provincial pay-equity legislation.

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