Essex, ON – Two-thirds of voters in Essex County believe the mayors that sit on the county council are doing a poor job of handling the library strike and half say it will affect how they vote in the next election, according to a new poll conducted by Environics, that was released today.

The strike that has seen all library branches across the county closed for more than two months has directly affected half of the families in the area, according to the public opinion survey that was conducted over August 24 and 25, 2016. The poll also identified that more than two-thirds of area residents believe the mayors are wrong to want to take away the sick-time of library workers.

“The people in Essex County want their libraries reopened and they are ready to punish the mayors for their serious mismanagement of the situation,” said Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario. “The polling shows that only eight per cent of people across the county sympathize with the mayors who sit on the county council, while almost 60 percent support the library workers. The polling definitely confirms that they should reconsider how they are handling things. They should put the needs of the community ahead of their wrong-headed political agenda.”

“I can’t tell you how much it means to have the public’s support,” said Lori Wightman, one of the library workers still out on strike. “It feels like we’re being targeted because they think no one will notice. This poll proves what I’ve always believed – one of the great things about living in Essex County is that we care about each other and support each other when times are hard. People understand that it is wrong to force their cookie-cutter sick time policies on our library workers.”

The Environics poll found:

  • 84 percent of people are aware of the library strike
  • Two-thirds of people use the libraries, with one-third using the libraries more than once a month
  • Almost half say the library closures have affected them or their family
  • Two-thirds believe the mayors that make up Essex County council are doing a poor job of handling the library strike
  • Only eight percent of people sympathize with the mayors compared to 56 percent who sympathize with the library workers
  • Two-thirds believe it is the responsibility of the mayors on county council to resolve the library strike
  • Two-thirds of people believe it is wrong to take away the library workers sick-leave plan
  • Half of area residents say the handling of this strike will affect how they vote in the next election

“Our members are committed to serving their communities. They want to get back to work,” said Hahn. “All they need is for the mayors to recognize that this is what their constituents want too. It is in everyone’s best interest for them to step up now and resolve the situation.”

“It’s not just the workers that are suffering,” said Wightman. “The people in our communities want their libraries reopened.”

Environics Research conducted the telephone survey of 1,081 voting age residents of Essex County. This large sample size is often used to gauge province-wide opinions and provides a margin of error of plus or minus three percent, 19 times out of twenty.

CUPE is Ontario’s community union, with more than 260,000 members providing quality public services we all rely on, in every part of the province, every day. CUPE Ontario members are proud to work in social services, health care, municipalities, school boards, universities and airlines.



For more information contact: Sarah Jordison, CUPE Communications, 416-578-5638