BY KELLY ROCHE
A labour dispute is closing libraries across Mississauga effective Monday.
Workers voted overwhelmingly in favour of rejecting the city’s offer, with 96 per cent of those attending choosing to strike. Negotiations between the city and CUPE Local 1989 – underway since June 12, 2015 – broke down at the bargaining table June 29.
This means all branches are closed until further notice, shelving summer reading programs, among other activities, during the library’s busiest time of year.
Salary is a key issue.
The city is offering a 1.5 per cent increase — something the union is balking at.
“When Mayor Bonnie Crombie talks about reducing poverty in Mississauga, we wonder why 28 per cent of our membership is paid poverty wages, and why the city is staffed increasingly by part-time, precarious workers, with staffing levels stretched to the breaking point,” reads a July 1 statement from the union.
They’re referring to 112 employees.
In addition, ‘Pages,’ or the people who file books on the shelves “earn only pennies above minimum wage,” according to the union.
Director of library services Rose Vespa says “the Mississauga Library System values and appreciates its wonderful staff” adding, “we will continue to work hard to reach a deal that is fair to both groups.”
But the union says Vespa received a 7.3 per cent salary increase in 2015, raising her pay to $176,000.
Late fees for borrowed items will be waived during the strike.
Available services include:
· Checking out eBooks & eAudioBooks, eResources, eMagazines and free music
· Renewing items online (please don’t drop off any materials at the library)
· Viewing the online catalogue
· Managing your account online
Updates will be posted here.