Kingston-Frontenac library board pushing for a strike

    Workers want more bargaining, won't accept rollbacks

    KINGSTON, ON, Aug. 29 /CNW Telbec/ - The Kingston-Frontenac Library
board's desire to roll back working conditions threatens the quality of
library services for the community, says the union representing librarians,
library assistants, library technicians, maintenance staff and IT Specialists,
the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) 2202.
    Talks broke down earlier this week when the employer filed for a "no
board", which sets in motion the countdown for a strike. The union hasn't
received official notification; the countdown clock to a strike or lock-out
will begin when it does. The union regrets that the employer is gunning for
confrontation over negotiations.
    "We want to get back to the bargaining table and resolve this," says CUPE
2202 Vice-President Sherry Van Luven, a librarian assistant at the Isabel
Turner Branch. "There is no reason for the employer's aggressive pursuit of
rollbacks and concessions. After all, they just gave themselves a raise of
3.5 per cent, while limiting ours to between 2.5, 2.5 and 2.25 per cent."
    Van Luven said that one of the biggest sticking points was an employer
concession to roll back the shift premium for working on Sundays. For years,
the premium has been double-time for workers keeping libraries open on Sunday,
and now the employer wants to chop it down to time-and-a-half. This move,
along with the minimal wage increase, prompted the 90 library workers to vote
98 per cent for a strike.
    "Rolling back our wages won't build a strong library service," says Van
Luven. "We have a better idea. Come back to the bargaining table and settle a
reasonable collective agreement with the people who make Kingston-Frontenac
libraries work."
    The Kingston-Frontenac Library Board's pushing for a strike comes just as
Kingston is getting ready to "rock for public services" with a free CUPE
Ontario-sponsored concert tonight with April Wine at the Memorial Centre. The
concert begins at 7:00 p.m. and will raise awareness of the importance of
public services in the community, including health, municipal and library

For further information:

For further information: David Robbins, CUPE Communications, (613)
878-1431; Barbara Williams, CUPE National Representative, (613) 542-2069;
Sherry Van Luven, Vice-President, CUPE 2202, (613) 583-5831 (available after
6:00 p.m.)

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