Library workers today released public opinion research showing strong public support for more full-time jobs and fair wages in Toronto’s libraries.

The survey of Toronto residents was conducted by Viewpoints Research on behalf of the Toronto Public Library Workers Union – Local 4948 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. The workers are in contract negotiations with the Toronto Public Library Board with a possible lockout/strike deadline of 12:01 a.m., May 2.

“We have too many people who have dedicated over a decade of service to the public library that are still stuck in part-time jobs, cobbling together hours at different branches to make ends meet,” said Maureen O’Reilly, President of Local 4948. “It is clear that the public supports a change to more full-time jobs and believes it will benefit the service they receive, so all we need now is a willing partner at the bargaining table.”

Key findings from the poll include:

  • 4 out of 5 respondents agree Toronto libraries are important to the quality of life in the city;
  • 9 out of 10 respondents who use libraries (over 60 per cent of the population) believe frontline workers are important to the quality of service. One-half believe they are critically important;
  • 4 in 5 respondents agree the City of Toronto should be a leader in providing good, stable jobs;
  • 6 in 10 think library workers, half of whom are part-time, should be provided more full-time work. The same number believe library workers deserve the same wage increase as received by the police, around 2 per cent annually;
  • Almost twice as many respondents believe that more full-time librarians working at the same branch will provide better service, versus those who believe that service will be just as good if it is delivered by part-time workers, switching branches shift-to-shift.

“We are very gratified to see people view library workers as an important part of a service they value,” said O’Reilly. “I think these results also show library users are becoming much more concerned about the crisis hitting our libraries in terms of unstable jobs that come as a result of under-funding the system.”

Over the last five years, the budget and staffing for the Toronto Public Library has declined, while use has risen by 7 per cent.

The online survey of 1000 respondents was conducted from March 16 to March 20. The results are available online.

For more information, please contact:

Katrina Miller, 647-272-5024

Kevin Wilson, CUPE Communications, 416-821-6641