BURNABY, BC, Jan. 28, 2019 – The Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 15, has served 72-hour strike notice on behalf of the more than 200 workers at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The union issued strike notice on January 28 in response to Gallery managers’ refusal to move from significant concession demands.
“After months of bargaining, Gallery managers continue to pursue major concessions, and two-tier working conditions and scheduling models,” said CUPE 15 President Warren Williams. “The VAG’s business managers have rejected a number of reasonable counter-proposals, and this has left us with no choice but to move forward with job action.”
Cuts to sick leave and major changes to long-standing scheduling practices are among the concessions demanded by Gallery managers. Documents tabled by the union in support of their position showed that, in terms of compensation, VAG workers lag behind other gallery workers in Canada.
“Attempting to cut workers’ sick leave entitlements is the kind of behaviour we expect from the most regressive of employers, not the Vancouver Art Gallery,” said Williams. “Patrons, supporters, and donors all expect the VAG to maintain high standards in its operations, including fair treatment of its workers.”
The last collective agreement between the parties expired in July 2017, and the two sides have been bargaining for a new agreement for more than eight months. The parties are scheduled to meet again on January 29 and 30, and the union will be in a legal strike position as of Thursday, January 31.
CUPE 15 represents more than 7,000 municipal, community social service, education and not-for-profit workers in Vancouver, and is B.C.’s largest CUPE local.