Library union says employee safety, Sunday hours key points as strike deadline looms

Negotiations continue between the City of Windsor and the union representing library workers.  (Tahmina Aziz/CBC - image credit)
Negotiations continue between the City of Windsor and the union representing library workers. (Tahmina Aziz/CBC - image credit)

Library workers for the City of Windsor could go on strike Sunday morning if a deal is not reached.

Both sides have been in mediated negotiations after the contract expired on Dec. 31.

Dan Rutherford, a library services representative and president of CUPE Local 2067.01, said bargaining continued on Tuesday.

"We will be ready and willing to bargain with the employer every day until until then," he said

The contract expires at midnight on June 30.

Rutherford has said that want a deal that ensures workers aren't left overseeing a library on their own.

"We do have members that work alone parts of their day and that's not acceptable for us anymore," said Rutherford.

"There are too many things that are happening around libraries across the country and across the world and in our city as well, that it's too much of a risk for members to be dealing with some of these situations by themselves."

Rutherford said that workers are open to a deal that increases Sunday service without cutting back hours on other days.

Increased hours and seven-day service across the library system is what people surveyed for the board's strategic plan want in Windsor.

"We're all about, you know, some more jobs, more people, some more hours for our part-time members," said Rutherford.

"We're open for all of that. But the plan since day one from the city has been net zero increase for this to happen."

Windsor Public Library board chair and city councillor Mark McKenzie did not respond to an interview request but has previously told CBC News that the board wants to expand services without reducing weekly hours.

"I don't know how you necessarily achieve that with no extra funding coming in," said Rutherford.

Nearly 70 per cent of the $9.2-million library budget is spent on staffing costs, according to the City of Windsor.

Rutherford did not say what type of action, if any, would be taken if the deadline passes without a deal.