REGINA: CUPE library workers are disappointed the Regina Public Library Board returned to the conciliation table yesterday without a new contract offer to settle the protracted contract dispute.
Provincial conciliator Doug Forseth presented CUPE’s revised bargaining proposal to the employer shortly after talks began at 1 p.m., but the employer refused to provide a formal written response. Instead they made a few changes to their so-called final offer, but continued to insist on reduced health and dental benefits and the elimination of severance for new part-time employees.
“Our members are extremely disheartened by the employer’s refusal to bargain a fair contract settlement nearly 30 months after our last contract expired,” says Debbie Mihial, the CUPE 1594 President. The 180 library workers, most of whom are women, have not had any wage increase since 2009.
The CUPE 1594 members, who gave their negotiating committee a strong strike mandate in early April, walked off the job on May 28 for a rally and study session. They returned to work the following day and implemented a ban on collecting library fees and fines on overdue materials as part of their strike.
Mihial says CUPE library workers have tried to minimize the impact of their strike on library patrons because their dispute is with the employer. But, she adds, they may need to expand their job action to force the employer to settle this dispute.