Striking Mississauga Library System (MLS) workers, members of Local 1989 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 1989), today got a high-profile morale boost on their picket lines, courtesy of their supporters and a few high-profile visitors.

On Thursday, July 7, 2016, CUPE Ontario Secretary-Treasurer Candace Rennick hosted a solidarity barbecue in Celebration Square, the main picket site. A few hours later, CUPE National Secretary-Treasurer Charles Fleury arrived to bring solidarity greetings on behalf of CUPE National.

“We are here today to show the support and solidarity of every single CUPE member in Ontario,” said Rennick, adding that CUPE Ontario would “stand shoulder to shoulder with our sisters and brothers in CUPE 1989 for as long as they need us by their side.”

Mississauga Library System workers walked off the job on July 4, after negotiations between MLS and CUPE 1989 broke down. Workers are trying to negotiate a fair collective agreement that addresses – among other things – high levels of part-time, precarious work at MLS, where half the workers are part-time and have no benefits.

Laura Kaminker, President of CUPE 1989, said the support from both inside the community and beyond has been “overwhelming” for striking workers.

“Knowing we have such tremendous support from our community allies and from CUPE Ontario and CUPE National is nothing short of amazing for us,” she said.

Fleury told strikers that “sometimes we have to stand up for what is right, and this is one of those times.”

Kaminker reiterated her call for MLS to return quickly to the bargaining table to settle the strike.

“Our bargaining team remains ready to bargain. The only thing we are waiting for is a willing partner at the table to finish the job so we can get back to providing the quality services the community expects and deserves,” she said.