Workers at Bradford West Gwillimbury are on strike as of this morning after their employer failed to come to the table with a deal that respects the realities faced by Library workers in the community.

“I’m disappointed that it’s come to this. Library strikes are rare in Ontario, but this employer left us with no choice,” said Katherine Grzejszczak, President of Local 905 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which represents 36 non-management workers at the library.

Staff voted almost unanimously to join CUPE in September 2021, citing low wages, lack of part-time benefits and concerns with the work environment being created by senior management. They have not yet been able to get their employer to agree to a first collective agreement.

“What we’ve been asking for is a $1.35 increase per year so that workers can pay their bills. Management doesn’t seem to care that half of the staff have left over the past two years, that more than half of their workers make less than the GTA living wage, or that the work environment is making it impossible to continue providing the programs and services that the community relies on,” said Grzejszczak.

CUPE is asking residents to contact Mayor Leduc and the Bradford West Gwillimbury Council to get the employer back to the bargaining table with an agreement that will to treat library workers fairly, pay them a living wage and settle this contract so the community can come back to the library they love.