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Saskatoon: Saskatoon Public Library workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees voted 77% in support of taking job action at a union membership meeting held yesterday.

The strong strike mandate is a reflection of the membership’s frustration with library management which has refused to address our key bargaining issues, particularly pay equity, said Gwen Thomson, president of CUPE Local 2669.

Contract negotiations began almost a year ago, but we have little to show for it, said Thomson.

Conciliation talks held in late August failed to make progress. The library managements final offer was rejected by the union membership yesterday.

The 250 library workers want to negotiate a fair wage plan to eliminate gender-based wage discrimination. The union is proposing a joint job evaluation process, which would assess each position and compare them to other positions in predominantly male workplaces at the city requiring similar qualifications. The union also wants the employer to set aside money to fund any pay equity adjustments that would arise from the process.

Library workers are, on average, the lowest paid civic employees in Saskatoon and its no coincidence that the vast majority of these workers are women, said Thomson. We cannot settle without an agreement on pay equity.

The library workers also want to negotiate improvements to parental leave and protection against contracting out and technological change.

Thomson said she hopes the strike mandate prompts library management to reconsider its position at the bargaining table. Another date for conciliation talks has been set for September 20.

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

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For further information contact
Gwen Thomson or staff representative

Andy Iwanchuk at 382-8262.