Part-time workers come together for a fair contract

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Both groups held an information picket at the main branch of the Sault Public Library Thursday afternoon.

Could you survive on just three hours of work a week? that’s what the City of Sault Ste. Marie expects its part time library workers to live on.

Unionized part-time workers from the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library and Algoma University joined forces Thursday because both are in the same situation.

Part-time Library workers want to get back to the bargaining table and part-time faculty at Algoma U want a raise. The workers say they are the lowest paid in the province.

36 part-time library workers of CUPE 67 are looking at a pay raise and guaranteed minimum of hours of work. “we want a minimum of three hour shifts” said Meredith Bone a part-time librarian. Bone said the City refuses to bargain fairly and have basically given the union a take it or leave it scenario. Part-time staff work an average of 14 hours a week, some shifts are just an hour long explained Bone. The union is also seeking parity with the full-time staff along with benefits. “The City refuses to bargain any further and won’t come back to the table”

Both groups are precarious workers. More and more employers are hiring people part time, with few benefits and little job security” said Andrea Calver, a representative of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Association. “Precarious work is a key social issue because insecurity at work has proven health costs to individuals and social costs to our society.” 

Representative exchanged letters of support - both groups are basically seeking the same thing.
Representative exchanged letters of support – both groups are basically seeking the same thing.

Both groups are hoping to avoid strike action. CUPE 67 staff rep Paul Edwards, “I’ve been at the table with the City since April 2016 and from our perspective the employer ceases to bargain, they are treating the part-time unit with less respect than the full-time employees”

The library workers want the community to help by contacting the CEO of the Sault Ste. Marie library, Roxanne Toth-Rissanen or their ward councillor and the Mayor and let them know to give the part-time workers a fair contract. The union claims it’s about fairness, equality and respect.