Job action at Vancouver Island Regional Library branches may soon escalate. (Kathryn Swan photo)

Job action at Vancouver Island Regional Library branches may soon escalate. (Kathryn Swan photo)

Library strike might escalate after workers reject latest offer

Union members wore protest buttons on March 3

Job action by members of the BC General Employees’ Union Local 702 at Vancouver Island libraries may escalate after the workers turned down the latest contract offer.

A statement from BCGEU Local 702, which represents 42 full-time employees, or 12 per cent of Vancouver Island Regional Library’s permanent workforce, said the VIRL made an offer on March 1 that did include wages, a main issue in the negotiations, but it was “not fair or respectful” to the workers.

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“The union sent a letter to the board stating that if no other offer is received, we intend to escalate the job action beyond the wearing of buttons that was done on March 3,” the statement said.

The collective agreement between the VIRL and BCGEU Local 702 expired on Dec. 31, 2020 and the two sides have been bargaining since September 2021.

On Feb. 22 the union announced it had voted 95 per cent in favour of job action and two days later, the BCGEU served 72-hour strike notice.

Labour