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SASKATOON: The union representing Saskatoon Public Library workers served the library board with strike notice today following the breakdown in conciliation talks last week.

The 250 library workers, members of CUPE Local 2669, will walk off the job on Wednesday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. They will hold a noon-hour rally at City Hall Square in conjunction with the job action.

Management absolutely refuses to negotiate a pay equity plan that will eliminate gender-based wage discrimination, said Gwen Thomson, president of CUPE Local 2669. Our members dont want to strike, because we know the vital role that libraries play in providing free information to the public. But we feel we have no other choice than to take job action to achieve an agreement that values and respects library employees.

Contract negotiations between the union and library management broke off the evening of September 20. Union members rejected managements latest offer at a membership meeting held yesterday.

The union membership voted 77% in favour of taking job action at a meeting on September 9.

Saskatoon library workers, who are overwhelmingly women, are underpaid and undervalued, said Thomson. What we are proposing is a joint job evaluation plan that will identify and reduce the wage gaps between library workers and predominantly male workplaces at the city requiring similar qualifications. But library management seems quite willing to let this inequity continue.

Thomson said the union also wants to negotiate improvements to parental leave and protection against contracting out and technological change.

The library workers have been without a new agreement since March 31, 2001.

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For more information contact
Gwen Thomson or

staff representative Andy Iwanchuk at 382-8262.