November 22, 2017

UPDATED: Toronto Library, Union Reach Deal

(This story has updated to report that the deal was approved and to provide details of the agreement.)

Toronto Public Library workers and the Toronto Library Board voted on March 29 on a tentative settlement, according to The Star. The contract was approved, according to CBC News, and workers returned to work the following morning.

Employees’ wages will be frozen this year; they’ll increase .225 percent in 2013, 1.75 percent in 2014 and 2.25 percent in 2015, according to a TPL statement. In addition, employees will receive a lump sum payment of 1.5 percent on January 1, 2013.

While the previous agreement prevented layoffs of any library workers, the new one only protects the jobs of those with 11 years seniority or more. That includes part-time workers, but only time worked counts, so a half-time employee would need 22 years of service to be protected. As a result, 59 percent of employees no longer have job security protection. However that’s still better than the 15 year seniority requirement that was all the city gave to other unions.

According to TPLWU local 4948, there were no concessions to benefits; and benefits for part-timers will be “more customized to suit their unique working conditions.” No full time positions will be converted to part-time, and a few full-time positions will be created.

The strike began on March 19, as LJ reported. The union’s primary objection was to a lack of job security in the event of library closures, though seniority in shift assignments for part time workers was also a factor.

“We have established some provisions due to the special circumstance so customers aren’t penalized,” Anne Marie Aikins, TPL’s manager, community relations, told LJ. These include a two week grace period to return materials and extended holds. (No fines accrued during the period when TPL’s 98 branches were closed.)

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Meredith Schwartz ( is Executive Editor of Library Journal.

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