CUPE 561 representatives addressed the April 27th Coquitlam Library Board meeting and spoke out against cuts to services announced earlier this month.

“Library workers helped hold our community together over the last two years,” said CUPE 561 President Jane Gibbons, who spoke to the Library Board remotely as she attended the CUPE BC Convention in Victoria. “Our members have welcomed the public to a safe inclusive community space through the pandemic while also providing relief in extreme weather events like the summer heat wave and the winter storms.”

The Coquitlam Public Library announced it has a $177,000 budget shortfall. To cover the shortfall seven library workers have received layoff notices and hours are being reduced for 15 other staff.

“After all these workers have done for the people of Coquitlam, putting our committed professional library staff out of work right now is just wrong,” said Donna MacMurchy, CUPE 561 Coquitlam Library Unit Chair. “This is not the time to cut back vital community supports. As we emerge from the pandemic, we need to strengthen public services that connect us – not make them weaker.”

The union is calling on the Library Board to re-consider laying off front-line staff. Library workers have been recognized as going above and beyond in serving Coquitlam residents including helping people access support services like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

CUPE 561 is urging the board to look at better ways of deploying management resources so that the workers who deal firsthand with the public can continue to meet the needs of the community.     

“Coquitlam needs supported libraries and library workers.” said Gibbons. “These cuts will hurt those who have the least and need our services the most. It’s time to do the right thing and maintain the library services so many rely on.”