Thirty-six part-time library workers with the City of Sault Ste. Marie are asking their employer why they refuse to come to the bargaining table. The part-time library sub-unit of CUPE 67 has been in negotiations for more than a year, with a contract that expired nearly two years ago, and their employer has refused to set further dates to bargain.

“Our employer has refused even modest improvements in wages or contract language,” said Meredith Bone, Acting Unit Vice-President with CUPE 67. “Our members work side-by-side with full-time library workers, making less per hour while doing the same job. We are trying to bargain basic fairness here, and we are faced with an employer who won’t even set bargaining dates. This is about respect and equitable treatment.”

The local last met with the employer, in the presence of a conciliation officer from the Ministry of Labour, on December 14, 2016. On that date the employer tabled a proposal it had already made in October, 2016, and said “take it or leave it.”

“You can hardly call this bargaining,” said CUPE National Representative Paul Edwards. “Why won’t the Library Board give us dates to meet? Come to the table and bargain a fair deal with your employees. Residents of Sault Ste. Marie expect you to do your jobs, and do all you can to get an agreement without labour unrest.”

Edwards added, “We’re here, and we’re ready to bargain. We need a partner in the negotiations process. We hope City Council will direct the Library Board to get back to the table and get serious about bargaining an agreement.”

The part-time library sub-unit of CUPE 67 represents library clerks, pages, and reference technicians.