The union is seeking pay equity for its workers, a majority of whom are women, who traditionally earn less.
Library workers at the Victoria Public Library are approaching their 14th month without a contract. Local 410 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, representing nearly 300 library workers, counts 167 days since they launched strike actions in an attempt to restart negotiations.
The facts of the recent labour dispute should be familiar to Monday readers by now, but the story began back in 1992 when library workers along with employees from Victoria City Hall and other municipalities went on strike in order to achieve equal pay for work of equal value. Following a promise on behalf of their employer to establish pay equity by 1994, the library workers became embroiled in successive rounds of negotiation and arbitration.
Sixteen years later “pay equity has been achieved everywhere but the library,” says Ed Seedhouse, president of CUPE local 410.
An escalating series of job actions by the union - including the withdrawal of Internet services and a refusal to collect fines - led the library board to declare a lockout at 5:01 p.m. on Sunday.