Following a breakdown in negotiations, workers at the Mississauga Library System (MLS), members of Local 1989 of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, today commenced strike action at 12:01 a.m. The strike will result in the closure of all MLS branches across Mississauga.
“We are very disappointed in this outcome and urge MLS to return quickly to the bargaining table to resolve this as soon as possible,” said Laura Kaminker, President of CUPE 1989.
“We are very sorry that many residents are being inconvenienced by this disruption in service, MLS’ refusal to seriously engage us on the issues that are critical to both our members and to ensuring that MLS continues to provide quality library services the public expects and deserves,” she added.
While the two sides had made progress on a number of issues, several key issues remained unresolved when negotiations broke down late yesterday, including benefits for part-time employees, many of whom earn just pennies over the minimum wage.
“For years, our members’ wages have been declining relative to inflation while at the same time senior management have awarded themselves substantial raises. Too many members are finding it difficult — if not impossible — to string together enough shifts to make ends meet,” said Kaminker.
She added that CUPE 1989’s bargaining committee is on standby, and available to resume bargaining on short notice.
“We owe it to the public — especially the families who depend on summer programming at MLS — to finish the work of bargaining a fair contract both sides can live with. We are ready to do so, but MLS has to return to the table and do that work with us,” said Kaminker.
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CUPE 1989 President