Library patrons may miss out on books

Okanagan Regional Library delivery vans sidelined due to ongoing labour dispute with CUPE staff members.

  • Jul. 10, 2012 1:00 p.m.

The labour dispute at Okanagan Regional Library is heating up again.

From Tuesday to Saturday, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees will not be operating delivery vans.

“That will impact deliveries to the branches,” said Catherine Lord, an ORL director.

That means items requested by patrons will be delayed.

A similar action was taken by the union in early June as part of its dispute with ORL over wages and benefits.

Unionized staff has also not been collecting overdue fines and that will now also extend to fees for photocopying, promotional items (T-shirts) and facility rentals.

Unionized branches affected by this job action include Cherryville, Falkland, Golden, Kelowna, Lake Country, Mission, North Shuswap, Westbank, Oyama, Peachland, Rutland, Salmon Arm, Silver Creek, Sicamous, South Shuswap and Vernon.

Rose Jurkic, CUPE 1123 president, says that library workers continue to find ways to minimize the impact strike actions have on patrons.

“Okanagan library workers encourage the community to come and use the library’s many services and facilities, while we aren’t collecting fees we are remaining open to serve our community.”

Okanagan library workers have now been without a contract for 19 months.

However, in other parts of the province libraries are successfully settling collective agreements. Since 2009, nine libraries have ratified new collective agreements and all have done so without mediation, arbitration or strike action.

The Fraser Valley Regional Library and Vancouver Island Regional Library are the most recent libraries to settle collective agreements. Library workers in both areas achieved wage increases of at least two pe rcent in each year of their respective contracts.

“CUPE’s bargaining team is ready to get back to the table and negotiate,” says Jurkic. “Modest wage improvements and extended benefit improvements remain our top priorities, strike action will continue until the library board can present us with a fair and reasonable offer.”

Kelowna Capital News