Windsor, Ont - While the Windsor Public Library Board recently won the Public Library Board of the Year award from the Ontario Library Association (OLA), management at the Windsor Public Library halted bargaining talks on Monday by asking the Ministry of Labour to start a countdown to a legal lockout, or strike, as early as March 24, warns the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), representing 62 frontline library workers.

“It is very ironic that the Windsor Library Board was recognized in January for contributing to Ontario’s libraries and, by March, management could lock out library workers that are there to help patrons enjoy our libraries,” said Amanda Meloche, spokesperson for CUPE 2067. “On Monday, our union was prepared to bargain and hammer out a fair contract that would allow our members to continue to provide important library services, but, instead, management has set the stage for an unnecessary service shutdown.”

The frontline librarians, clerks, catalogers, and maintenance staff proudly serve nine library branches in Windsor. Their contract expired on December 31, 2015. “While our members work very hard to provide the professional library services that our community deserves, it has become increasingly difficult and frustrating to work in an environment that does not respect workers,” said Suanne Hawkins, CUPE National Representative. “From a series of management scandals in recent years, to the recent closure of South Walkerville branch, to the disrespectful work environment at our members’ workplace and, now, an increasingly difficult round of bargaining talks that could potentially lock out workers – our members are understandably frustrated and experiencing very low morale at work.”

“We are professionals and we want a fair contract that will allow us to continue to serve the Windsor community,” said Meloche. “That is why we are urging our award-winning Windsor Library Board to demonstrate why they won this recognition by paving the way for management to return to the bargaining table with a respectable and conciliatory attitude, and bargain to reach a fair collective agreement.” Both parties are scheduled for mediation talks on March 23.

For more information, please contact:

Amanda Meloche
Spokesperson for CUPE 2067

Suanne Hawkins
CUPE National Representative

James Chai
CUPE Communications