Okanagan Regional Library union votes for strike

CUPE members have voted 96 per cent in favour of strike, saying negotiations are at a standstill after multiple bargaining sessions...

Okanagan Regional Library denies it is unwilling to hammer out a new contract with staff.

CUPE members have voted 96 per cent in favour of strike, saying negotiations are at a standstill after multiple bargaining sessions and two mediation sessions.

“We’re still in negotiations. No one has booked out of mediation,” said Lesley Dieno, ORL executive director. “Both parties have what they feel are their final offers on the table.”

CUPE local 1123 says wage increases and benefits could be resolved with co-operation from ORL

“The employer has put us in a tough position. The work we do inside our communities is important and we don’t want to see that disrupted,” said Rose Jurkic, local president, in a release.

“However, in comparison to libraries of similar sizes we have fallen behind. We’re only asking for what workers doing the same type of work we do have.”

Dieno would not provide details on ORL’s wage offer but points out that the agency’s process includes a negotiating committee and the board.

“I’m not sure how the board will feel (about amending the offer),” she said.

“We need to get further direction from them.”

No immediate job action is planned by the union and Jurkic hopes both sides can negotiate a contract.

CUPE 1123 represents 150 library workers at 16 branches in the Okanagan.