On Strike

At 12:01 tonight, CUPE Local 1989, Mississauga Library Workers Union, will be on strike.

The City of Mississauga tells us that a 1.5% salary increase is “fair and competitive”. In 2014, we had a 0.5% increase. In 2015, the same. With inflation running upwards of 1.8%, we are losing ground. Given Library Director Rose Vespa enjoyed a 7.3% increase in 2014, “fair” is not a word that springs to mind.

More than half our members work part-time. They have no benefits. No paid sick time. Not one day of paid bereavement leave, not a day of paid vacation. Many get only 8-12 hours per week, and struggle to string together enough shifts to cobble together a decent paycheque. Everyone needs second — and often third — jobs, but their constantly changing schedules make it very difficult, often impossible, to find more work. Fair?

Our Library Pages — 28% of our membership, and the foundation of the library — earn only pennies more than minimum wage! The same work in Brampton Public Library brings in almost $19.00/hour. Fair? Competitive?

The City agrees that Pages need to be better compensated. Our Union managed to push them — and they fought us all the way — to a $15/hour offer. But only if full-timers agree to take a smaller salary increase. Fair?

The “fair and competitive” offer also contained a host of smaller indignities. The City wants to force part-time workers to use their unpaid vacation in week-long blocks only. It wants to require part-timers to work every Saturday, rather than every-other Saturday, which is typical in our field. Try finding another job with that schedule! And, of course, they want to make it more difficult for us to run our union.

We love our jobs and we are proud of the quality services we provide. But we have been stretched past the breaking point.

If you support us, please sign our petition, and please tell the City of Mississauga: give your library workers a fair deal!

Bonnie Crombie

John Kovac
Library Board / Council

Matt Mahoney
Library Board / Council

For more information, contact Laura Kaminker, President, CUPE Local 1989, at 647-200-1481.