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ESSEX COUNTY, Ont. Essex County Library workers, represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), will be in a legal strike or lockout position on May 10, 2005, if a contract settlement cannot be reached.

We are fighting for basic job security, and so far this employer has not taken us seriously at the bargaining table, said CUPE National Representative Julia Ardiel. The reality is, fewer jobs mean fewer services for our communities.

CUPE represents 57 members who work in libraries throughout the Essex County Library system, including branches in Amherstburg, Comber, Cottam, Essex, Harrow, Kingsville, Lakeshore, Lasalle, Leamington, McGregor, Ruthven, Stoney Point, Tecumseh, Woodslee and at the library administrative offices in Essex. This predominantly female workforce includes librarians, research support staff, technical support, assistants to branch managers, a program and publicity clerk, branch assistants and branch supervisors.

Essex County Library management has been cutting hours, merging small branches, and cutting back on the services we provide to the public, said Ardiel. When we fight for protection of our members work, were really fighting to protect the services you rely on and thats why were asking for your support. CUPE 2974.2 members voted 92% in favour of strike action if a settlement cannot be reached.

CUPE library workers are calling on residents to contact local politicians and library board members, to urge them to protect library services, particularly in smaller communities where they are at risk.

We would prefer not to have a strike, said Ardiel. All it takes is a fair deal that recognizes the importance of our members work to the communities we serve, and hopefully we can achieve that without a strike. Mediation talks are scheduled for Monday May 2, 2005.


For further information, please contact:

Laurie Grant-Taylor, CUPE 2974.2, Communications Chair - 519-966-9595

Julia Ardiel , CUPE National Representative - 519-966-9595

Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications - 416-292-3999