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Vancouver Art Gallery, staff avoid strike with tentative pact

A couple walks into the Vancouver Art Gallery.

DARRYL DYCK/The Globe and Mail

The Vancouver Art Gallery has reached a tentative agreement with its staff, following a strike vote earlier this week by CUPE members who work at the gallery. "We anticipate [the agreement] will be ratified in the very near future," said VAG spokesperson Dana Sullivant, in a statement. "We are pleased this has reached a successful conclusion."

The agreement was reached Wednesday, a day after CUPE local 15 members voted 95 per cent in favour of a strike. The union issued a news release saying 120 employees have been without a contract since 2010, and that VAG officials have been too focused on moving plans to deal with the contract negotiations affecting clerical, curatorial, membership, public program and installation staff at the gallery.

"The VAG Association appears totally focused on its moving plans – we would like to see the association show the same commitment and dedication to the staff as they do to a new gallery," said CUPE 15 bargaining representative Kathie Currie, in a statement.

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In that same release, CUPE 15 president Paul Faoro said "This is a very dedicated workforce that has weathered layoffs, decimated departments and unrealistic workloads while continuing to put the public first. Now, while the director of the gallery is making more than $300,000 a year and the provincial government is promising to pour tens of millions into a new location, the staff that makes the gallery actually work has been denied a fair and reasonable contract."

Details of the tentative agreement were not immediately available Wednesday evening.

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