Brantford City librarians, technicians, clerks and maintenance staff, who garnered the support of many in the Brantford community during a bitter six week long strike last year, say they are pleased with a recent settlement that provides them with ground-breaking protection.
The settlement with the employer comes nearly a year to the day (October 24) that the 49 library workers agreed to end their strike, return to work, and send outstanding issues, such as the scheduling of part-time workers - who make up more than half of the library staff - to arbitration.
Consistent scheduling of part-time staff was very important to us. Its one of the key reasons we took a stand and went on strike. So the settlement, recognizing the right of workers to have consistent shifts and consistent days off, is a victory for us. One we can build on in our next round of negotiations, says Adele Chernoff, Library Unit Chair of Local 181 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).
Prior to the strike and the recent settlement, scheduling of part-time staff that number approximately double the full-time employees, changed from week to week with no apparent pattern. Staff would be asked to work 24 hours and less, over a six-day period.
This haphazard scheduling hurt the quality of life and the livelihood of part-time staff. It virtually made it impossible for them to work at a second job in order to make a decent living, or to arrange for child care, says Chernoff.
She points out that, because municipalities are increasingly hiring part-time staff to deliver public services in our communities, securing the collective agreement language on scheduling will help part-time library workers and many other part-time municipal employees province-wide in future negotiations.
The strike, which began Thursday, September 12, 2002, was the first labour strike in the 125-year history of the Brantford Library.
For more information, please contact:
Unit Chair, CUPE Local 181