Negotiations at the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library have reached an impasse leaving workers no choice but to set the clock ticking toward a work stoppage. Today, the Ministry of Labour issued its report starting the 17-day countdown to a strike or lockout.

“It’s been nearly two years and Bradford Library workers are done waiting”, said CUPE 905 President Katherine Grzejszczak. “The workers are asking for fair pay, health benefits for part-time workers (75% of the bargaining unit), and job protection. We’ve been speaking to Bradford residents and there’s overwhelming community support for these workers, people love their library!”

Following a nearly unanimous vote, workers at the library joined CUPE in September 2021.

“Some of us haven’t seen a wage increase in over 5 years. This is ridiculous,” said Bailey Shaw, a library worker who is on the CUPE 905 bargaining team. “We work extra hard in the summer to provide programming that residents and families rely on, and the employer just isn’t treating staff with respect. Most of us make less than the $23.15 living wage, don’t have any health benefits and we’re fed up.”

Library workers want a fair collective agreement that includes fair compensation, scheduling that allows them to have a life outside of work and job security.

“The library is an important part of the Bradford West Gwillimbury community, but we’re constantly losing staff,” said bargaining team member Anita Donald. “We want a respectful work environment, it’s so important to us that we’re willing to walk.”

More than 22,000 library workers across the country are members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, including workers in most Ontario public libraries.