Library workers represented by CUPE 4948 have voted overwhelmingly to ratify a new, five-year collective agreement that maintains job security and makes some important human rights gains.

“We are pleased that CUPE library workers have ratified this agreement, bargained in unprecedented times,” said Brandon Haynes, President of CUPE 4948, which represents 2,100 library workers in the Toronto Public Library (TPL) system.

The union and the TPL used video conferencing to continue their negotiations throughout the pandemic, holding roughly 15 bargaining sessions remotely.

In addition to securing their existing job security provisions, the union also bargained some ground-breaking language on paid leaves for trans-affirming care, as well as domestic violence and sexual assault leave. “We are proud to be leading in these areas,” said Haynes. “With this new language bargained, our local affirms its commitment to human rights.”

Haynes also highlighted success in securing new, dedicated resources for health and safety. “This has long been an important issue for us,” he said, “and we’ve now secured a joint commitment to prioritize and work on improving health and safety in libraries.”

“I thank the members of CUPE 4948 for their patience as we worked to negotiate this deal in a time of upheaval,” said Haynes. “It is because of their commitment to public service and their strength as a union that we were able to secure this new collective agreement.”

The five-year deal will expire on December 31, 2024. Wages bargained are consistent with deals reached with the City of Toronto’s other unionized workers.