With the dust of the 10-day strike at the Toronto Public Library settling, two other public library systems face the possibility of job action.
On Monday, public library workers in Regina voted 83 per cent in favour of a strike. The members of CUPE Local 1594 have been without a contract since Dec. 31, 2009. Roughly 180 library workers could walk off the job at nine branches if an agreement isn’t reached by April 10.
According to the Leader-Post, the major bone of contention is the proposal to extend library hours while cutting wages, and shrinking benefits for new employees. RPL staff went on strike for nearly a month in 2002 on the issues of pay equity and the extension of health benefits.
A day after the RPL vote, 96 per cent of workers at B.C.’s Okanagan Regional Library voted for a work stoppage. Members of CUPE 1123, the union representing 150 library workers at 16 branches, opted for the strike mandate after multiple bargaining meetings and two mediation sessions left contract discussions at an impasse.
In a press release, CUPE 1123 president Rose Jurkic says the sticking points are wage increases and benefits.
The employer has put us in a tough position, the work we do inside our communities is important and we don’t want to see that disrupted, Jurkic says. However, in comparison to libraries of similar sizes we have fallen behind. We’re only asking for what workers doing the same type of work we do have.