TORONTO – Contract talks between Toronto Public Library (TPL) Board and its 2,300 employees will reach a critical stage today, with the possibility of a complete shutdown of all library services at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, March 18.
“The concessions faced by library workers in this round of negotiations are the most onerous in the history of the library,” said Maureen O’Reilly, president of the Toronto Public Library Workers Union, CUPE Local 4948.
“The TPL Board has failed to understand the seriousness of the situation facing the library system and its employees. That’s why we are cautioning everyone who uses library facilities that a work stoppage may result in the likely closure of all branches.”
O’Reilly noted that, as a result of a 5.9 per cent cut in City of Toronto funding this year, the library has deleted 107 full-time positions. This has not only increased workloads but resulted in cuts to service and diminished our ability to provide the customer service Toronto residents deserve.
“Half of our members work part-time, and the vast majority are women living on fairly low incomes,” she said. “Despite this, the Library Board has blindly followed the lead of the City of Toronto and demanded concessions at the bargaining table that would take away the rights of part-timers to have a decent quality of life and full-time opportunities.
“As long as this remains unresolved at the table, it may be very difficult for our union to reach an agreement by the deadline,” O’Reilly said.
The contact talks continue today at the Westin Prince Hotel, 900 York Mills Road.
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