TORONTO – Talks have so far failed to result in a deal for 2,400 Toronto library workers and the library system could shut down tomorrow night (Wednesday) at midnight, says the Toronto Civic Employees’ Union, Local 416 (CUPE).
“We’ve done everything possible to reach a deal with an employer bent on controlling every move,” says Local 416 president Brian Cochrane. “The issues facing library workers are similar to issues facing other municipal workers, with employment security at the top of the list.
“They’ve cut a quarter of our workforce since 1991 and now the library board wants to shift work to the lowest paid workers in our system – services will suffer.” Library pages, mostly students earning between 8 and 12 dollars an hour, are being asked to perform duties normally assigned to clerical staff.
“It’s called the casualization of work and it’s not good for our libraries,” adds Cochrane. “The Library Board – including many council members – has its head in the sand,” charges Cochrane. “They are courting another shutdown by refusing to recognize the importance of employment security to our members.”
A shutdown would end all children’s summer programs, public access to computer terminals, home delivery programs for seniors, and other key services. All public libraries would remain closed during the strike.
“We’re calling on residents to contact their councillor and the mayor’s office – tell them you need your libraries. Tell them it’s time they started respecting working people in this city.”
Library workers have begun a radio campaign outlining the issues and calling on residents to contact elected officials and urge them to prevent a shutdown.
For further information, please contact:
Robert Lamoureux, CUPE Communications
Sue Leger, CUPE National Rep.