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Prince Albert: Library workers at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library are seeking a major pay increase in contract negotiations to reduce the wage gap with other civic employees.

The John M. Cuelenaere Public Library employees are among the best educated and poorest paid of any municipal workers in the city.

The library employees earn about $19,300 annually - equivalent to the poverty line for a family of two in Prince Albert.

The librarys pay schedule is a textbook example of gender-based pay discrimination, says union spokesperson Gail Peterson. Our work is undervalued and underpaid simply because its womens work.

Compared to inside jobs at City Hall, library workers are paid less than every classification, except one the assistant concession manager.

The situation is worse when comparisons are made with the male-dominated jobs of the outside city workers, where entry level positions are much higher. For example, the cashier at the city landfill makes $11.77 an hour, while a clerk at the library makes only $8.51 an hour.

Municipal workers are worth every cent they make and more, says library worker Faye Johnson. Its time the City and the Library Board recognized that Library workers also are worth a lot more.”

The Library employees voted unanimously last week to reject the employers wage offer of 6% over three years. We want pay increases that resolve the discriminatory wage rates at the Library, not perpetuate them, Ms. Johnson says.

The CUPE members requested the opportunity to meet with the Board this past month. The Board refused. On Monday, the Library workers are taking their concerns to Prince Albert City Council.

Were not prepared to settle for pay discrimination any longer, says Ms. Peterson. And in 2001, we shouldnt be expected to.

The collective agreement at the John M. Cuelenaere Public Library expired December 31, 1999. The CUPE members have been bargaining with the Board for nearly a year.

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For more information, call Gail or Faye at 306 922-3895