The most interesting post about Vancouver’s strike you’ll read this week
No, not the one you’re reading right now, the one I’m directing you to at Beyond Robson.
It’s a member of the library union explaining her “no” vote in the strike. I suspect, especially on the pay-equity argument, she’s fairly representative of worker sentiments.
Oh, and hat-tip to ex-Metroblogger Travis for the pointer.
That said, the most interesting bit is where the author points out that the part-timers in the library union are most of the membership. It’s not unusual for part-time and auxiliary members of a union to have very different negotiation priorities from the full-time workers.
I was also curious as to the background on the “it’s the pay equity” arguments being bandied about as most fundamental to this enduring strike. To their credit, CUPE 391 has lots of background documents on their site. And a blog!
But the pay equity arguments are dodging some basic economic issues, and the work-equivalency arguments are essentially unsupported by the facts. Just to take one basic argument in their “Pay Equity for Library Workers” backgrounder, they claim that “[t]he library can be considered an
industrial workplace…” with “significant occupational hazards.”
Which are of course reflected in the WorkSafe BC insurance rates for these relative occupations, right?
Oh, and if you’re still reading, the basic economic issue they’re missing is that the present economy needs a lot of strong backs and construction laborers, and not that many library scientists. And to the extent it does need them, a public library (as opposed to a private corporate library or an academic research library) is traditionally the bottom tier of libraries in terms of hiring and paying librarians. This isn’t by chance.