TORONTO, ON – Following days of unproductive collective bargaining with the Toronto Public Library (TPL) Board, negotiators for Local 4948 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 4948) requested the Ministry of Labour issue a ‘No Board’ report, which set into motion a deadline by which a lockout or strike could take place.
“Library workers are what make our library system so exceptional,” said Maureen O’Reilly, President of CUPE 4948, “but they can only do that when they have good, stable jobs and, right now, over half don’t. It’s hurting our library system and its largely female workforce who come from diverse neighbourhoods across Toronto. We have to do better.”
The library workers are looking for a shift to more full-time, permanent jobs as they suffer from some of the greatest levels of part-time, precarious work in the city, with limited access to pensions or benefits.
“Our priorities have been very clear from the outset,” said O’Reilly. “Unfortunately, not one of their proposals addresses the crisis of precarious work in the library which affects the quality of service our members want to provide, so the bargaining committee felt they had no choice but to request the ‘No Board’ report.”
O’Reilly expressed disappointment that the employer is taking the same aggressive approach to seek deep concessions that they did in 2012 under the last administration.
“We believe a settlement can be achieved, but we need a willing partner to craft an agreement that meets the unique needs of the library and its workers,” added O’Reilly.
The Ministry is expected to issue the ‘No Board’ report today. Once the report is issued, the parties will then meet with the assistance of a provincially-appointed mediator prior to the lockout or strike deadline. The earliest possible date for a service disruption would be 17 days from the date the report is issued.
CUPE 4948 represents 2200 full- and part-time library workers across the Toronto Public Library’s 100 branches. Together, they help connect Torontonians to the busiest and most successful library system in North America.
Earlier this year, Local 4948 released a documentary film on precarious work in the Toronto Public Library which can be found at http://ourpubliclibrary.to. The local has partnered with the Toronto Women’s City Alliance to continue its work on the issue of precarious work.
For more information, please contact:
CUPE Communications, 416-821-6641