Love your library? Can you help us keep the doors open?
In 1992 the municipalities of Greater Victoria promised library workers that they would achieve pay equity with other civic workers. More than 10 years later, that promise has yet to be fulfilled.
Library workers earn considerably less than other civic workers doing comparable work. Many think this is because library work is traditionally done by women.
If you believe that library staff deserve equal pay for work of equal value, please let your municipal representatives know that a promise is a promise.
You wouldn't keep your books overdue for 10 years!
GVPL member municipalities: Victoria, Saanich, Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Langford, Colwood, Metchosin, Highlands, View Royal
Equal pay for work of equal value.
Equivalent responsibilities + equivalent qualifications = Equal compensation.
Pay equity means paying women and men the same when their jobs are of equal value. Value is determined by comparing the skills required, effort, responsibility, and working conditions.
There are few jobs in libraries that are traditionally considered to be male jobs, so like most women’s work, it is undervalued. Low pay in libraries comes from gender discrimination. Library workers’ pay has not been based on the value of the work, the skills and education required to do the job, nor the effort and responsibilities required.
Percentage wage increases are always valuable. But in the case of gender-based pay discrimination, even if library workers received the same rate of pay increases in a new settlement, that gain would do nothing to reduce the gender gap in pay. In fact, when percentage increases in wages occur, the gender gap in wages actually increases.
Federal government employees are protected by fairness clauses within the Canadian Human Rights Act, and some provinces have their own pay equity legislation. British Columbia does not have pay equity legislation, so it is left to employers to act fairly.
Most union locals that bargain with Greater Victoria municipalities had Pay Equity fully funded in their contracts in the late 1990s or early 2000s. Except Library Workers.
CUPE Local 410, which represents library workers, has asked repeatedly for the same treatment. In several contracts this issue has been represented by a Letter of Understanding, which in effect says that the employer will settle the issue in a future contract
In 2000 a full Comparability Study was conducted in relation to City of Victoria positions. Each job was scored on the basis of skills, effort, responsibility and working conditions. The result was a table comparing jobs of equal value, even if the work was different.
The study showed that jobs with the public library are paid considerably less than equivalent jobs at Victoria City Hall.
The contract is once again being negotiated in 2007, and surely after ten years it's time to put this issue to bed by giving Library workers what other municipal workers have already received. Let’s not allow gender discrimination to continue in the 21st century at the Library.
Here are some comparisons between typical comparable jobs at the City of Victoria and the Public Library.
|Labourer - General
Parking Meter Collection Person
|Parkade attendant||$20.23||Library Clerk||$17.58||$2.50|
|Clerk / Receptionist||$21.05||Library Clerk||$17.58||$3.47|
|Truck Driver||$21.05||Shuttle Driver||$18.55||$2.50|
|Accounting Clerk - Conference Centre||$23.04||Accounting Clerk||$19.83||$3.21|
|Payroll Clerk||$26.71||Payroll Clerk||$21.33||$5.38|
|Microcomputer Systems Analyst||$30.97||PC & Network Administrator||$25.43||$5.14|
|Information Technology Support Supervisor||$37.67||Systems Administrator||$28.76||$8.91|
|Senior Planner||$39.59||Branch Head||$33.66||$5.93|
Here are some examples of the work done in your public library.
Library positions require a high degree of formal education and continuing professional skill development. Entry-level jobs require a grade 12 education but many require two-year post-secondary training, a bachelor’s degree or a master’s degree, in the case of librarians.
Library workers are constantly upgrading their information technology skills. Library resources are continuing to migrate from print to electronic sources. Library workers must learn how to use and manage these systems as well as train the public in the systems.
Library workers’ work duties are far from sedentary. The library can be considered an industrial workplace requiring heavy lifting, shelving and moving books as common tasks. Consequently, there are significant occupational hazards: repetitive strain injuries, muscular/skeletal injuries, harassment from the public.
Since libraries are free and open to the public, people from all social backgrounds including people with social and mental health problems visit libraries, requiring library staff to have the social skills to contend with these challenges. Library workers also need to have the social skills to assist and interact with people with various languages other than English, poor literacy skills and patrons who are viewing inappropriate material on the Internet.
Libraries are free and open to the public. Employers and the government must be aware of the tremendous social and communication skills required in library jobs.
The Greater Victoria Public Library belongs to 10 member municipalities. It is governed by a Library Board which has representatives from municipal councils, as well as citizen representatives.
Employees are members of CUPE Local 410. Bargaining for contracts is conducted by the Greater Victoria Labour Relations Board (GVLRB) on behalf of the municipalities. Some contractual issues are common throughout all municipal unions.
So decision-makers are mayors and municipal councilors as well as Library Board members
The current chair of the Library Board is Councilor Christopher Graham, and he may be contacted c/o GVPL, 735 Broughton St., Victoria V 8W 3H2.
In 2005, only nine Canadian Libraries loaned more total items than GVPL, but eighteen had higher overall budgets.
In the same year only four Canadian Libraries loaned more items per-capita than GVPL, but twenty-one were better funded per-capita.
In 2005, eight Canadian Libraries had salary costs in 2005 that were a larger proportion of their total costs, but only five spent a greater proportion of their funds on purchasing new material.
In 2005, total circulation in B.C. libraries was 52.147 million or 12.61 items per capita. That’s up from 11.34 items per capita ten years earlier.
From 1996 to 2006, total borrowing increased sixty four percent, but staffing hours went up by less than fourteen percent.
From 2000 to 2006, borrowing increased by thirty percent, but total funding in constant dollars increased only twenty three percent.
Library employees are among the few B.C. public sector workers who have seen no pay equity gains in the last decade. Gender based wage discrimination is unacceptable in the twenty-first century.
As a society we must address it by evaluating and rewarding jobs based on the nature of the work, not the typical gender of the person providing the work. Women and men who choose to work providing the valuable public services in libraries deserve better.
Please contact your municipal mayor and representatives to let them know that you want fairness for library workers. Let them know that library workers should receive pay that is equal to other municipal employees for work of equal value.
Addresses for municipalities are in the blue pages of the phone books.