Vancouver Art Gallery workers go on strike

Workers at the Vancouver Art Gallery are now on strike.

After rejecting the employer’s final offer on Friday, the union served strike notice on Jan. 28, but continued to bargain through the week.

However, after failing to reach a settlement, the workers walked off the job on Tuesday.

“For months, we have been seeking fair treatment from gallery business managers, yet we continue to face concession demands and two-tier working conditions and scheduling models,” CUPE 15 president Warren Williams said in a release.

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The union says the two sides have been bargaining for eight months, but remain “at odds” over two central issues — a scheduling model that would create two-tiered working conditions and wage proposals, which the union says fails to keep pace with inflation and addressing the cost of living challenges.

The union also says gallery managers are going to use B.C. Labour Code’s “last offer vote” provision and force a vote among workers on the employer’s rejected proposal.

That vote is expected next Tuesday, Feb. 12.

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“The employer has chosen to force a vote on its rejected proposal rather than spending time at the bargaining table working out a fair and negotiated settlement,” Williams added.

“This tactic represents the sort of the disrespectful treatment our members have received throughout these negotiations.

“Pushing forward a last-offer vote in an attempt to force a harmful concession on gallery workers has broken what little trust remains between the parties. We call on gallery managers to start rebuilding that trust by returning to the table with us in an honest effort to reach a fair, respectful and negotiated settlement.”

A gallery spokesperson said it “has been engaged in a collaborative and respectful bargaining process with CUPE 15 as both sides work towards a new collective agreement.”

“The current status is that both the union and the gallery have approved the submission of our proposal to be submitted to employees for a vote, which will provide them an opportunity to vote on their future.”


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