Toronto library workers ratify agreement, Board to vote later today

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A new collective agreement for the Toronto City public library workers is in the final steps of ratification.

The new agreement between the Toronto Public Library Workers' Union/CUPE local 4948 and the Toronto Public Library Board was reached early Monday morning. 

The union, which represents about 2,300 library staff, voted to ratify it on Wednesday.

The new contract will be put before the Toronto Public Library Board at a special ratification meeting later today.

Maureen O'Reilly, union local president, said in a statement the membership's decision to remain firm on the need to address precarious employment in the new contract had paid off.

At least half of Toronto's public library staff are precarious workers, and three in four are women. It is also the busiest public library system in North America.

"We said at the onset that our members wanted and needed a collective agreement that addressed the unique needs of our workforce," O'Reilly said.

"This agreement is a good-albeit small-step in the right direction for them."

"We took a stand. Our members said clearly that good jobs that support quality public services in the community mattered, not only to them but to the community as well," O'Reilly said.

"That message clearly resonated with the public-particularly library supporters," she said.

Negotiations over the new contract began in February.


Teuila Fuatai is a recent transplant to Canada from Auckland, New Zealand. She settled in Toronto in September following a five-month travel stint around the United States. In New Zealand, she worked as a general news reporter for the New Zealand Herald and APNZ News Service for four years after studying accounting, communication and politics at the University of Otago. As a student, she had her own radio show on the local university station and wrote for the student magazine. She is rabble's labour beat reporter this year.

Photo: flickr/hobvias sudoneighm

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