Saskatoon Public Library employees, represented by CUPE 2669 have voted 95% in favour of job action, up to and including a full withdrawal of services. After months of bargaining, negotiations have broken down over wages and the employer’s refusal to address serious safety concerns in the workplace.

“Library workers serve their communities with pride. But for too long, they’ve been working in dangerous and unsafe workplaces,” said Jeff Bergen, president of CUPE 2669. “The employer is aware of these challenges and the escalation of violence on the job. It’s frustrating that they are refusing to include a single extra security provision in the collective agreement to keep workers and the public safe. Members have had enough, and this vote sends a clear message to the employer – violence is not part of the job.”

The vote took place between May 31 and June 1, 2024 and achieved a 95% mandate to take job action. Library workers are seeking common-sense measures in their collective agreement to keep them safe on the job, including provisions like walkie-talkies, security alert bracelets and other measures that have proven to reduce violence in libraries in other jurisdictions.

The employer is also refusing to provide broad wage increases to address the crushing cost-of-living. This short-sighted and hypocritical decision was made despite the fact that:

  • Reports of increases in management positions from 19 in 2015 to 45 in 2022, a spike accompanied by salaries nearly tripling from $1.69 million to almost $4.85 million in the same time period.
  • The mismanaged new Saskatoon library replacement project, which had to be started over in light of poor budgeting, is now off project timelines for completion and will cost taxpayers more.

“This employer had a choice to invest in Saskatoon libraries and the people working in them, but instead has mismanaged new projects and expanded executive and management positions,” said Kent Peterson, president of CUPE Saskatchewan. “Our members shouldn’t have to worry about getting assaulted, threatened, or attacked on the job. The employer needs to bring forward an agreement that takes steps to keep workers and patrons safe in Saskatoon libraries. We won’t settle for anything less.”