Calgary library workers’ union seeks mediation after ‘insulting’ wage offer

A union representing library works in Calgary is seeking mediation after it rejected an "insulting" wage deal. Getty Images

Editor’s Note: The original version of this story indicated the library workers were negotiating with the City of Calgary, not the Calgary Public Library board.

A union representing library workers in Calgary is seeking mediation after it rejected an “insulting” wage deal from the Calgary Public Library board on Monday.

The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1169 said it was offered a wage deal lower than that rejected by two other city groups who are currently at the bargaining table. According to a news release on Monday, a seven per cent wage increase over three years was offered to Calgary Public Library workers.

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This is lower than the nine per cent offered to CUPE Local 38, which represents 5,600 “inside” workers with the City of Calgary. Last week, CUPE Local 38 members voted in favour of labour action to back up demands after the city “failed to address” critical issues from the union.

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“The deal we were offered today is insulting,” said CUPE Local 1169 president Elsa Gee in a news release Monday. “It’s less than the city is offering other groups. Less than those other groups that have turned them down. Apparently, the city believes library workers are immune from record inflation.”

Gee went on to say that the offer doesn’t address employees’ needs and added many Calgary Public Library staff are struggling to make ends meet.

“Despite these hardships, employees remain dedicated to their work and the public services they provide to the citizens of Calgary,” they said. “The work CUPE members do is vital to the functioning of our city. However, the city must understand that employees are stretched thin and can no longer bear the financial strain they are under. We urge the Calgary Public Library to recognize and address the critical needs of their employees.”

CUPE Local 1169 said it will consult and work with other union groups looking for wage increases as part of the mediation process.


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