KINGSTON, Ont. – “Let’s stop the erosion of library services,” front-line library workers told passers-by today at an information picket at the Central Branch on Johnson Street.
Librarians, library assistants and technicians, members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 2202, leafleted passers-by at the Central Branch today, asking them to lobby the Board to strengthen public library services by coming to a fair collective agreement with workers. Another picket is planned for Friday, September 12, at the Isabel Turner Branch, 935 Gardiners Road, from 12:00 Noon to 2:00 PM.
“We need to stop the erosion of our community’s library services,” said Sherry Van Luven, CUPE 2202 Vice-President. “We’re trying to deliver the best service we can but we’re dealing with new faulty technology that leaves patrons frustrated while workers wrestle with sub-standard check-in and check-out equipment that leaves us scrambling to make up for its inefficiency.”
“And now management wants to hire more “apprentices” – students who they’ll pay less – to cut into our regular workforce. But we say, no way – the erosion stops here,” Van Luven said.
“It’s time for the public to speak out and tell the Board to stop undermining service to the community,” Van Luven said. “It’s time to reach a fair deal and stop eroding our beloved library service.”
Van Luven noted that management walked away from the bargaining table just when the union thought they were coming close to a new collective agreement.
“We don’t understand why they walked – there is no financial crisis, things were going well in bargaining, but they seemed determined to push us into a strike when we just wanted to keep talking,” Van Luven said.
Management filed for a “no board” on September 3, a motion that starts the countdown to a potential strike or lock-out by midnight, September 19. Van Luven said there was one more mediation session to be scheduled, and she remained hopeful.
“We don’t want to strike, we want to keep bargaining,” Van Luven said. “With the public lobbying the Board, we’ll all stand a better chance of reaching a deal to make our libraries stronger and turn back the erosion of the past several years.”
For more information:
Sherry Van Luven, President, CUPE 2202: 613-583-5931 (C)
David Robbins , CUPE Communications: 613-878-1431 (C)