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KINGSTON, Ont. – Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) negotiators will enter mediation talks on behalf of 92 library workers with the Kingston Frontenac Public Library in a final effort to prevent the first ever strike by area library workers. The talks are scheduled to begin Tuesday, July 26th.

The library board and management must take full responsibility for the crisis we find ourselves in today,” said Nancy Mohan, president of CUPE local 2202. “Instead of bargaining in good faith, they hired an outside consultant to seek concessions and started the countdown to a strike or lockout showdown without attempting any meaningful negotiations.”

The employer requested a no-board report from the provincial conciliator on June 30th, starting a countdown to a legal strike or lockout. The library workers will be in a legal strike position on July 29th, at 12:01 a.m.

Our members will not let our employer take away workplace rights we’ve negotiated over the years,” said Mohan. “Our struggle is about quality library services and our ability to deliver them, and we encourage library users to contact management to demand they settle this contract without provoking a strike.”

The employer is seeking concessions, including attacks on job security, language, workplace rights and working conditions. So far there has been no discussion of monetary issues. The union’s contract expired on March 31, 2005.

We have never had a strike before and we’ve been able to reach reasonable settlements with this employer in the past,” said Mohan. “If the employer backs away from concession demands and comes to mediation with a fair contract offer, we may still be able to avoid a strike.”

For further information, please contact:

Nancy Mohan
President, CUPE 2202
(613) 389-2611

Cheri Dobbs
CUPE National Representative
(613) 542-2069

James Chai
CUPE Communications
(416) 292-3999