In the question, says Warren Williams, president of CUPE15, there are two-tier staffing issues, low workers` pay and delays in gallery negotiations: “We served them in 2017 with the announcement to negotiate, and it was only in the last eight months that we were at the table,” Williams told Canadian Art. “The gallery is very appreciative of its unionized employees and we appreciate their contributions and we obviously have that in mind as we go through this process,”” she adds. The gallery`s cupe 15 employees receive 1.5% salary for 2017 and 2018. In addition, they will receive wage increases of 1.75 per cent in 2019 and 2 per cent in 2020. Another theme for workers is what the union calls a “two-tier” hiring model. Gallery employees currently work for nine days, a system in which workers work two weeks of work for nine days instead of ten. “We believe this four-year contract will keep the gallery on the path to cooperation, stability and future growth.” The letter of support from the artists` centres also suggests that at least some salaries of gallery executives have exceeded inflationary increases in recent years – and implies that the salaries of ordinary employees must be treated accordingly and in congruence in the face of this trend towards executive compensation. Williams says that shortly after this big gift announcement, the Gallery, offered in the negotiations, The cost of living increases by 0% for 2017, 0% for 2018, 1% for 2019 and 1% for 2020 – with an additional demand of 2% after signing the contract in 2019. “For me, it`s pretty offensive,” Williams says.
But some community members say a new gallery building won`t mean much if it doesn`t generate profits for workers and the public. She says sick pay has not been reduced, she also says the gallery has increased overtime pay. It seems that the Vancouver Art Gallery (VAG) is closer to landing a new building than getting a new collective agreement with the workers. The new contract will begin retroactively on July 1, 2017, when the old collective agreement expired. The current collective agreement expired on July 1, 2017.