Library Workers Blitz Local Councils

CUPE members leave the July 11, 2016 regular meeting of Kingsville council. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Striking library workers in Essex County are looking to raise their profile with public officials, making impromptu visits to council meetings in Kingsville, Leamington and Amherstburg on Monday night.

Catherine Gravelle works at the Tecumseh branch and says librarians want to see their municipal representatives bring their concerns to county council.

“The taxpayers that voted them in as councillors regard them as the authority on speaking on their behalf and they’re not doing it,” says Gravelle.

Deputy Mayor Gord Queen chairs the July 11, 2016 regular meeting of Kingsville council in the absence of Mayor Nelson Santos. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Deputy Mayor Gord Queen chairs the July 11, 2016 regular meeting of Kingsville council in the absence of Mayor Nelson Santos. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Library workers represented by the Canadian Union of Public Employees have been on strike since June 25. The union represents 58 staff across 14 branches.

CUPE national representative Suanne Hawkins says members want to make sure councillors hear from both sides.

“I don’t think the councillors have all of the goods as to what’s happened at the [bargaining ] table, so I think [the union visit] was important for education,” says Hawkins. “We really want councillors to get back to get a hold of county council to get a hold of the library board. We want to go back to the table. We want a fair deal.”

In Amherstburg, councillor Rick Fryer moved to send a letter to county council asking to have the negotiations move forward. No formal action was taken at councils in Leamington or Kingsville.

CUPE members stand outside of Kingsville's town hall on July 11, 2016. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

CUPE members stand outside of Kingsville’s town hall on July 11, 2016. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)