Toronto’s public library workers (members of CUPE Local 4948 Toronto Public Library Workers Union) have ratified the collective agreement negotiated by their bargaining team with the library board.
Maureen O’Reilly, President of Local 4948, expressed pride in her union for members’ patience in the face of an aggressive employer.
“This signals clear approval of our commitment to defending quality jobs and services, even when with an assault on the people who work to keep our communities working,” she said. “I’m saddened that the library board chose to join this assault. But I’m proud of our members, our bargaining team, and the public for reminding them that Toronto loves its libraries – and that libraries work because we do.”
Bargaining took place in the context of 107 staff positions already lost to the 2012 budget, even after public outcry prevented further cuts. The board aggressively bargained to gut employment security provisions – provisions which make such service cuts more difficult to implement.
Some key components of the negotiated settlement:
No concessions to benefits; and benefits for part-timers will be more customized to suit their unique working conditions.
The board was convinced of the need to protect quality jobs, and not convert any full-time positions to part-time. A modest number of full-time opportunities will even be created across the length of the agreement.
The board’s desired cuts to employment security were pushed back to only those members with less than 11 years’ seniority “This was not about money – this was about ensuring that the employer values the work we do,” said O’Reilly. “That means valuing what our work makes possible. Library workers don’t just lend books – they provide services and maintain spaces that support communities. They need support as well.
We look forward to working with the people across Toronto who supported us in our struggle, in the struggle to bring an ethic of respect and decency back to City Hall.”