Update: On February 11 at 5 pm, the strike officially ended with VAG CUPE 15 reaching an agreement with the Gallery. You can read about it on Canadian Art: “Strike Ends at Vancouver Art Gallery”
Capture Photography Festival stands in solidarity with the members of VAG CUPE 15, who have been working for nearly two years at the Vancouver Art Gallery without a collective agreement, as they seek fair wages and working conditions. A non-profit institution of such scale requires careful planning and strong leadership, which should prioritize and not view as a concession the livelihoods and well-being of its equally necessary qualified professional and service staff.
Capture Photography Festival is a long-standing supporter of the Gallery and has enjoyed partnering with the Gallery on several past Festivals. Gallery staff are dedicated, extremely professional, and passionate about their work. The high-calibre exhibitions, museum services, publications, programming, and customer service at the Gallery would not happen without its invaluable staff members.
Gallery Business Managers are demanding major rollbacks of the most basic rights—things like long-standing scheduling rules, insufficient wage offer that does not meet inflation increases, and fair working conditions (two-tiered proposals that rollback rights for new workers). VAG CUPE 15 has proposed numerous alternative solutions, and all were rejected by the Gallery Business Managers.
We hope that Gallery Business Managers are working towards a mutually beneficial collective agreement. The Vancouver Art Gallery is an important part of BC’s arts and culture landscape and we look to the Gallery to set the standard for visual art institutions in Canada. For the Gallery to achieve its goals, it requires qualified professional and service staff, as well as a commitment from management to recognize their integral contributions.
Please show your solidarity to help ensure that the Gallery continues to grow and move forward, by emailing gallery Director Kathleen Bartels at [email protected]. Tell Director Bartels that concessions do not make the Gallery better, and that Gallery staff should be treated fairly.
CUPE press release (January 28, 2019)
“Vancouver Art Gallery Workers Go on Strike,” Canadian Art (February 5, 2019)
Image courtesy of @vagonstrike on Instagram