REGINA - CUPE 1594 members at the Regina Public Library will walk off the job at 4 p.m. today to protest the board’s refusal to resume conciliation talks and negotiate a fair settlement to the protracted contract dispute.
The 180 library workers, most of whom are women, have been trying to conclude a new agreement with the board for nearly 29 months. Last month, the library board presented a so-called “final offer” and cancelled conciliation talks scheduled for April 10.
Central Library and all of the branch libraries will be closed for the remainder of the day as CUPE members attend a 4:30 p.m. rally outside city hall and hold an evening study session. They will be back at work tomorrow.
CUPE 1594 President Debbie Mihial said library workers want to achieve a fair settlement, but that can only happen at the bargaining table.
CUPE Saskatchewan President Tom Graham said he has a lot of concerns about the library board’s refusal to return to the table and find a settlement to this dispute. “Does the board lack the capacity to resolve differences and treat people fairly or is it a question of competence? Either way, the board is responsible for this dispute,” he said.
The library board continues to insist CUPE 1594 members accept monetary concessions, including a proposal for employees to work longer hours on Sundays for reduced wages. The board also wants to cut health and dental benefits for new part-time employees at the library.
Although city council appoints members to the library board the city rebuffed a request by CUPE 1594 to make a presentation to council at today’s meeting. Both Mayor Pat Fiaaco and Councillor Sharon Bryce are on the library board.
The union wanted to talk to council about the deleterious effect the contract dispute is having on library patrons and staff. Click here to read CUPE 1594’s presentation.
For more information, please contact:
President, CUPE 1594
CUPE Staff Representative