As the Essex County Library strike passes the 150-day mark, the striking library workers are urging the library board to return to the bargaining table with the full intention to conduct meaningful bargaining on the core outstanding issues – sick time and short-term disability, so a fair resolution can be reached and our libraries can be opened again.

“Today marks the 150th day that our communities have been deprived of important library services,” says Lori Wightman, spokesperson for CUPE 2974. “That is far too long for residents to be shut out of their community hub. While we are encouraged to be going back to the bargaining table, management needs to return to the table with a different position and attitude on the core sick time issue. We look forward to having true bargaining so a deal can be reached.”

Both parties will resume bargaining on November 25 with the help of a provincial mediator. This is their first meeting since mid-September, when talks broke off as management maintained the same core position that they held on June 22, three days before the strike started on June 25.

“This is the first meeting we are having in over two months and the first time the employer asked us to resume bargaining,” said Wightman. “We hope to use this opportunity to find solutions and we urge the Library Board to do the same and not come back to dictate pre-determined terms.”

“Our goal on Friday is to find a way to secure a fair deal and open the libraries again so children can enjoy their world of wonder, students can use their place of learning and seniors and adults can mingle in their community hub,” concluded Wightman. “We sincerely hope that our elected officials feel the same way and are determined to find solutions to end this strike and open our libraries.”