MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 18, 2016) - With their strike now entering its third week, the president of the union representing striking Mississauga Library System (MLS) workers said "the time is now" to return to the bargaining table and salvage what's left of summer programming.
"Families depend greatly on summer library programming, and time is running out," said Laura Kaminker, President of Local 1989 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 1989), which represents striking MLS workers.
"If MLS and the City of Mississauga are serious about providing the summer programming families depend on, the time is now to get back to the table. We continue to be ready to finish the work of bargaining a fair agreement acceptable to both sides," she added.
CUPE 1989 members walked off the job July 4 after talks between the union and MLS broke down. Several key issues remain unresolved, including benefits for part-time employees, many of whom earn just pennies above the minimum wage.
In the absence of formal summer programming, CUPE 1989 has been offering family-friendly events, such as children's story time, on their picket lines.
"This is one of the library's busiest and most important periods. Normally, we have 11,000 Mississauga children participating in the Summer Reading Club. At the Central Library alone, 1,200 children should be taking part in summer programming right now. Instead, families are going without, and that's shameful," said Kaminker.
"We're trying to offer some activities on our own for young people in the community, but this is hardly a replacement for what residents expect and deserve," she added.
CUPE 1989's bargaining committee remains on standby, ready to resume bargaining on short notice.
"The only thing we are lacking right now is a willing partner at the bargaining table to conclude bargaining," said Kaminker.