CUPE 306 is speaking out against recently announced budget cuts to the library network in Longueuil, Quebec. The union, which represents the City’s 1200 white-collar workers, including 70 library clerks, believes it is these members who will end up paying the price of the cuts.
The City’s decision is particularly surprising given that restructuring the library sector was on the table during the last negotiations. The union had proposed eliminating two vacant positions in order to minimize the impact of the cuts on active employees, a proposal accepted by City representatives.
“At the time, however, we didn’t know that management was planning to take the money from the freed-up salaries to create an executive position. The City wants to pay the salary of this new manager on the backs of its most precarious employees,” decried André Duval, president of CUPE 306.
In addition to lowering the quality of services offered to the citizens of Longueuil, this decision may lead to a rise in the already-high rates of violence directed at library workers.
“City managers don’t understand the impact their decision could have on the mental health of their employees. This situation isn’t going to get better by cutting staff and not replacing staff on leave,” said Stéphane Simard, the first vice-president of CUPE 306.
As of this writing, the employer has provided neither statistics or documentation showing a drop in library use, nor any schedule proposals.