A new four-year contract containing a 12 per cent wage increase over its lifetime has been ratified by the union representing librarians and by the Vancouver Island Regional Library.
Ratification followed job action by the 48 librarians belonging to the B.C. General Employees’ Union who work for the library system.
Rotating strikes were carried out during almost two months at VIRL branches.
The union said the deal comes seven months after bargaining began. It received close to 90 per cent support at a union ratification vote on Tuesday. The library’s board of trustees unanimously voted in favour of the agreement on Wednesday.
The agreement is retroactive to Dec. 13, 2020, when the previous contract expired. It runs to Dec. 31, 2024.
Each year brings a three per cent wage increase, with a $500 signing bonus in 2022.
The union had called for wage increases to recognize the rising cost of living. The contract brings librarians’ salaries closer to other comparable systems in B.C., the BCGEU said.
“All workers in B.C. deserve respect in their workplace and a wage that keeps pace with the high cost of living in this province,” Joanna Lord, BCGEU vice-president, said Friday. “That’s what these negotiations were about from day one and that’s what this deal represents for our members.”
Union members also won improved terms for parental leave, workload, and workplace harassment, the union said.
The employer said the agreement includes new language for union-employer collaboration on mutual issues.
Gaby Wickstrom, chair of the library’s board of trustees, said, “As a board, we are thankful to both sides of the bargaining table for their commitment and dedication to reaching a fair and sustainable agreement.”
The library has branches in Sooke and Sidney and Vancouver Island outside of the capital region. It also includes part of coastal B.C. and Haida Gwaii.