Library workers returned to the bargaining table with the town of Bradford West Gwillimbury on Wednesday, after the employer signalled there was a new offer to discuss. However, despite two more days of negotiations, it was made clear the employer has not heard the concerns of library workers over the last 28 days.

“We went back to the table in good faith, but the new offer was exactly the same for almost everyone in the library. It only met the annual $1.35 increase for three of the 36 workers. It was an offer designed to divide our members,” said Katherine Grzejszczak, CUPE 905 President. “At the end of the deal in 2026, half the library workers would still make several dollars an hour less than the lowest-paid, unskilled positions in male-dominated departments in the town.”

CUPE responded with proposals designed to address some of the employer’s concerns, but the employer rejected the union’s proposal.

“We’ve been clear since July 20 on what it will take to pull these workers up, end this dispute and re-open the library: a three-year contract with an annual $1.35 per hour increase in the last 2 years,” said Grzejszczak. “The community has overwhelmingly come out in support of library workers, but Council isn’t listening. After years of wage suppression, Council has chosen to keep these women on a picket line and keep the library closed over the summer rather than provide fair wages and some relief during times of record high inflation.”

The agreements the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury recently settled with male-dominated units included double the wage increase they’ve offered library workers in the first year of their deals. The male-dominated groups who make more than $100,000 per year averaged 6 percent last year, and Council hiked the library CEO’s salary by almost 14% in the last 2 years.

By contrast, the Town’s latest offer for library workers – nearly all women – would only meet the cost-of-living concerns for three workers, and would leave workers at minimum wage.

“The price of bread is going up. The price of gas has soared. The Town doesn’t respect our work or our families enough to bring in a cost-of-living increase that will bring us up to where similar libraries are, or even give what they gave male-dominated groups in the town,” said Bailey Shaw, a CUPE 905 bargaining committee member. “The reality is that this library is a workplace with significant challenges and the town needs to make significant changes in order to be able to stop losing good staff who provide the excellent services relied on primarily by the women, children, teens, seniors and newcomers of this community.”