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Library deliveries shelved for ORL branches

It may take a little longer to order a book from some Okanagan libraries.

As part of the current contract dispute, Canadian Union of Public Employee van drivers will not be making deliveries to library branches between today and Saturday.

“That means small branches that get one delivery a week may miss a delivery,” said Lesley Dieno, Okanagan Regional Library executive director. “All medium and large branches may miss at least one and up to two or three deliveries.”

Rose Jurkic, CUPE local 1123 president, says halting van deliveries is necessary.

“We’re trying to show the employer we are serious  about our needs, but we’re not walking off the job and closing libraries,” she said of minimizing public disruption.

CUPE members voted 96 per cent in favour of strike in early April, although there has been limited action to this point, such as not collecting overdue fines.

ORL has offered a 4.5 per cent increase over three years, and the union can decide if it goes to wages or benefits or a combination of both.

CUPE is seeking a five per cent wage hike over three years as well as improvements to benefits.

“We’ve been falling behind other library workers (in the province),” said Jurkic.

There have been no negotiations since the strike vote.

“Neither party is willing to change its position at this time,” said Dieno.

Dieno isn’t sure what steps may occur next in the conflict, but she insists ORL will not make the next move.

“The board isn’t planning to escalate things,” she said.

Jurkic believes a full strike may be possible.

“The employer is pushing us to do that if they don’t come back to the negotiating table,” she said.

The Penticton Public Library is not part of the ORL network.

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