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Library workers in Toronto negotiate tentative settlement

Around 2,220 library workers have arrived at a tentative settlement agreement in Toronto. The agreement was announced early morning on Monday, May 2, which means that area libraries will open on schedule. Employees were on the verge of walking off the job after midnight on Monday, which would have closed Toronto’s 100 public libraries.

However, the library workers’ union president said that the labor organization had reached a crucial deal at 7 a.m. Monday. A new four-year contract had been agreed to. The union president said that the bargaining was difficult but they ultimately arrived at an agreement that honored some of the library workers’ concerns and gives Toronto’s librarians the ability to continue giving their best on the job.

The terms of the deal have not been revealed and the deal has not been inked as of yet, but the news is certainly favorable. One of the biggest issues in the contract dispute related to part-time library staff, whom the union said were struggling. Wage increases and employment security were also important issues on the negotiating table. The union president said that many of the things requested were benefits and wage issues that had been outpaced by inflation and had not been revised in 10 to 15 years.

According to the co-founder of a worker advocacy group called the Urban Worker Project, the issues do not stop with librarians. Rather, the library worker contract dispute highlights a plight that many employees without pensions, benefits and job security also face on a daily basis.

Contract disputes and employee pay and benefits issues can frequently result in long-term and destructive strikes. As such, it is important that businesses and organizations diligently work out these issues with employees and union leaders swiftly before they escalate, as the Toronto library system was able to do so admirably in this case. In some situations, an experienced lawyer and mediator can be invaluable assets to ensure that negotiations are carried out as smoothly as possible.

Source: 680news.com, “Toronto library workers reach tentative agreement,” May 02, 2016

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