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SASKATOON:The rotating strike by the 260 Saskatoon Public Library workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees will continue today.

The job action marks the 16th day that library workers have withdrawn their services from the city’s seven public libraries.

Late yesterday, the employer proposed new bargaining sessions on November 19 and for a half-day on November 20. Thomson said the union agreed to negotiations on these dates even though the employer refused earlier bargaining dates proposed by the union.

“We’ve been 19 months without a new agreement. We made our last offer nearly a month ago. And the earliest the library board can meet with us is a week from now?” asked Gwen Thomson, president of CUPE Local 2669. “This is disrespectful to library workers and library patrons who want a quick resolution to these negotiations so our public libraries can return to normal.”

The union and library board last met on October 29 for an information session on pay equity. The last bargaining session took place on October 21.

The library workers, who are predominantly women, began a series of rotating strikes on September 25 to press their demands for a pay equity plan in the current round of negotiations.

The union wants a commitment from the library board to implement a job evaluation and pay equity plan that would measure the value of library work and bring wages in line with male civic workers doing work of comparable value.

“The library board claims they are committed to pay equity. The truth of the matter is that they are only committed to studying pay equity, not implementing it. It’s a hollow promise that will do nothing to correct years of gender-based wage discrimination at the library,” said Thomson.

“Pay equity is not that complicated. Thousands of library workers in other jurisdictions, here in Saskatchewan and across the country, have benefited from the implementation of pay equity plans. It’s time that our library board stopped dragging its feet. It’s the 21st century. Equal pay for work of equal value is long overdue.”

The library workers last contract expired on March 31, 2001.

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For more information contact Gwen Thomson or Andy Iwanchuk, staff representative at 382-8262.