Union staff served 72-hour strike notice to the Vancouver Art Gallery on Monday, on behalf of the more than 200 workers.
A release tweeted at the gallery by Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 15 said the notice is in response to gallery managers’ refusal to move from “significant concession demands,” such as cuts to sick leave and “major changes” to scheduling.
“After months of bargaining, gallery managers continue to pursue major concessions, and two-tier working conditions and scheduling models,” said CUPE 15 president Warren Williams.
“The VAG’s business managers have rejected a number of reasonable counter-proposals, and this has left us with no choice but to move forward with job action.”
— CUPE Local 15 (@CUPElocal15) January 28, 2019
The union also says VAG workers lag behind other gallery workers in Canada in terms of compensation.
“Attempting to cut workers’ sick leave entitlements is the kind of behaviour we expect from the most regressive of employers, not the Vancouver Art Gallery,” said Williams. “Patrons, supporters, and donors all expect the VAG to maintain high standards in its operations, including fair treatment of its workers.”
A statement from art gallery spokeswoman Johanie Marcoux said the gallery continues to engage in a “collaborative and respectful” bargaining process with CUPE 15 as both sides work toward a new agreement.
According to the union, the last contract between the parties expired in July 2017, and the two sides have been bargaining for more than eight months.
The parties were scheduled to meet again on Jan. 29 and 30. The union will be in a legal strike position as of Jan. 31.
Gallery officials said the space will remain open in the event of a strike.