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Regina librarians walk out, nix fines to protest stalled contract negotiations

Regina Public Library staffers temporarily walked out of work and are refusing to collect late fees in a bid to get administration back to the bargaining table. A post to the website for CUPE Local 1594, which represents RPL library workers, states union members are “refusing to collect fines on overdue materials or library fees as they continue their strike to achieve a fair agreement.”

More than 180 members of the library’s union have been working without a contract since December 2009 and negotiations with the library board stalled last month.

The announcement comes a day after library staff staged a temporary walk-out. The 4 p.m. strike that lasted until the end of the work day caused many RPL branches to close early and preceeded a scheduled rally at City Hall, reports Vanessa Brown at the Leader-Post:

[Library staffers] are particularly concerned with concessions that include working longer on Sundays with less pay and a reduction of dental and health benefits for new part-time employees.

“We think the concessions are significant,” [CUPE national representative Guy Marsden] said. “… We need them to take those remaining concessions off the table. We don’t think that’s much to ask for because other civic employees didn’t have to take concessions like that.”

It might be “business as usual” at RPL today according to one library staff member who spoke with Quillblog, but the union will continue to press its case. The job action appears to be part of a ramped up public outreach campaign, which also includes the release of a TV commercial this week.