Toronto’s 98 libraries are temporarily closed after talks between representatives for the City of Toronto and the library workers’ union broke down last Sunday.
Last Monday, 2,300 library workers set up picket lines at libraries. A picket line, in this case, is where the library workers march with signs that tell the public what they want from the City of Toronto, which pays their salary. Picketing is a way of letting people know that a deal needs to be made before they will go back to work.
What do both sides want?
Library workers are looking for job security*, especially for part-time workers. Part-timers want the city to let them work more hours during the week, says Maureen O’Reilly, president of the Toronto Library Workers Union. The City wants workers to be part-time because it cannot pay full-time salaries.
The deadline for a deal has come and gone four times but the two parties cannot agree on how to settle their differences. The library workers decided that a strike was the only option left for them.