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Brantford – Participants in the UNESCO Model Library Network (UNET) 2002 meeting starting here today will have a chance to see a model of poor library management and the problems it creates, say members of CUPE Local 181.

The library workers have been on strike since September 12. The main issues are a regular schedule for part-time workers and assurances that work will not be contracted out. Brantford is hosting the first UNET meeting in North America. UNET members come from India, Colombia, Nigeria, Chile, Zimbabwe, Sweden, Estonia, Malaysia and Spain, as well as Canada.

“The UNESCO Public Library Manifesto says the library is ‘an essential agent for the fostering of peace and spiritual welfare through the minds of men and women,’” said CUPE Local 181 President Andrew Hunter. “We want to know if that includes the peace and spiritual welfare of people who work in libraries.”

Library management’s refusal to create regular schedules for part-time workers is causing financial and emotional stress, Hunter said. Workers are not able to supplement their low incomes with other jobs because their hours at the library are subject to change. It also creates problems with scheduling other necessities such as child care, he said.

“Skilled workers – librarians, library technicians and clerks – are also dealing with the possibility that their jobs could be contracted out,” Hunter said. “That’s on top of an ongoing pattern in the library of turning full-time jobs into part-time.”

The workers hope UNET members will ask Brantford Public Library management some tough questions when they see the picket lines during their visit, which had been schedule for tomorrow, Hunter said.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees represents 180,000 workers in Ontario, most of whom work for municipalities, hospitals, school boards, universities and social service agencies.


Andrew Hunter, President, CUPE Local 181,
519-865-1718 (cell)
Matt Graves, CUPE National Representative,
416-436-1908 (cell)
Pat Daley, CUPE Communications,
416-616-6142 (cell)