VIRL Library workers reach tentative agreement

After a long bargaining process that included sessions with a mediator, CUPE 401 reached a tentative agreement with the Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) yesterday evening.

Details of the tentative agreement will not be released publicly until both parties review and ratify the agreement.

CUPE 401 President Blaine Gurrie said, “We were able to come to this agreement after serious and thoughtful discussions on issues that were important to our members, who care deeply about the library and the communities they serve.”

Gurrie praised the commitment and dedication of the bargaining committee and thanked members and the public for their support.

CUPE 401 members will be voting on ratification of the tentative agreement on January 24. The bargaining committee is recommending ratification. It is hoped that the board will ratify the agreement at its AGM on Saturday, January 16.

Latest set of talks promising

During our two days of mediation at the end of last week, discussions on both sides were serious and thoughtful. We have another two mediation dates scheduled for the end of this week and are cautiously optimistic that we could reach an agreement. We will keep members posted with latest developments. In the meantime, please invite your colleagues, family and friends to visit this web site (

Library workers raise awareness with ad campaign

Members of the public will meet CUPE 401 members who work in libraries through an ad campaign launching today. The campaign draws attention to the public library services provided by more than 200 workers at Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL).

“Our members care about the communities they serve,” said CUPE 401 President Blaine Gurrie. “This is an opportunity for the public, and the library board, to get to know them.”

CUPE 401 members invite all library lovers to visit

The campaign also includes newspaper and bus advertising.

“This campaign focuses on the excellent services and dedicated library workers our communities rely on,” said Gurrie. “VIRL covers a large geographic area and we are proud to be the heart of the communities we serve.”

Members recently voted overwhelmingly to take job action if necessary in support of their bargaining committee. Many are disheartened by major concessions the employer is demanding, as well as scheduling changes that create problems on the job and negatively impact work-life balance and family time.

CUPE 401 represents more than 200 library workers who serve a large geographical area covering Vancouver Island (except Victoria), Haida Gwaii, the Central Coast and some northern Gulf Islands – at 39 branches in 37 communities.

VIRL library workers send message with strong strike vote

CUPE Local 401 members who work at Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL) have given their bargaining committee a strong strike mandate in a vote that was counted on December 14.

“These workers are just asking to be treated fairly,” said CUPE 401 President Blaine Gurrie. “Hopefully the employer will rethink their demands and will instead value the important services our members provide to more than 3 dozen coastal communities.”

Members are unhappy with the employer’s offer that includes major concessions; does not address issues around benefits; and implements schedules that create problems with work life balance and family time for members.

A strike vote was taken at five separate member meetings and by mail-in ballots after conference calls to remote communities.  Members voted overwhelmingly to go on strike if needed.

“Our members care a lot about the people and the communities they serve,” said Gurrie. “No one wants to go on strike. But the employer needs to get back to the table and seriously negotiate a fair contract.”

CUPE 401 represents more than 200 library workers providing services at Vancouver Island Regional Library, including a Books by Mail service to remote communities. They serve a large geographical area from Sidney, South Vancouver Island to Port Hardy and up to Haida Gwaii and Bella Coola, including many smaller islands.