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Library workers in Markham are more than ready to provide expanded hours for library users, but only with proper scheduling and compensation. With a potential strike or lockout looming September 25, they are trying to settle a new collective agreement that provides fair compensation for the extended work week.

The Markham Library Board wants to open all branches on Sundays,” said Lorne Trevors, CUPE National Representative on behalf of the 114 members of CUPE 905. “That’s good for the community but should not be done at the expense of library workers who deserve a normal ‘weekend’ – at least two consecutive days off – and premium pay for starting to work the day that the rest of their family members have off.”

The union has requested a no-board report from the conciliator appointed by the Ministry of Labour, setting the date for a strike or lockout beginning September 25 if an agreement is not reached. The other key issue on the table is benefits for part-time workers. Two dates have been set for negotiations to take place before the deadline.

We hope management will recognize the need to adequately compensate library workers for extended weekend hours and the time that will be taken away from their own families while they improve service to the broader community,” Trevors said. “That is the best way to avoid a strike or lockout, which will leave the community worse off.”