MISSISSAUGA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 2, 2016) - With bargaining set to resume tomorrow, the union representing library workers for the Mississauga Library System (MLS) is warning of the potential impact on vital summer library programming if both sides aren't prepared to 'get serious' about bargaining a fair contract.
"Our members do not want to strike, but they made it very clear on Thursday that the latest offer from the employer is not acceptable," said Laura Kaminker, President of Local 1989 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE 1989).
On Thursday, members voted overwhelmingly to reject the last offer from MLS. The two sides will attempt once more on Sunday to reach a negotiated settlement, ahead of a lockout or strike deadline of 12:01 a.m. Monday morning.
Among other issues, CUPE 1989 is attempting to address rampant levels of precarious, part-time work at MLS.
Half of the workers at MLS are part-time, and of those, more than half earn just pennies above the minimum wage, with no benefits," said Kaminker, adding that many part-timers struggle to string together enough shifts to make ends meet.
"While our members have received 0.5 per cent wage increases in each of the last two years-well below the rate of inflation-it's galling for them to be told they have to 'make do' with less while the library director has seen her compensation raised by 7.36 per cent," she said.
While a lockout or strike would impact the vital summer programming many families rely on, Kaminker said CUPE 1989's bargaining committee was prepared to work "for as long as it takes to reach a negotiated settlement, provided we have a partner across the table that shares our commitment."