It is time to meet library workers’ request and bring this strike to an end, letter writers say

Bradford Today
Letter to the Editor
September 5, 2023

BradfordToday welcomes letters to the editor at or via the website. Please include your full name, daytime phone number and address (for verification of authorship, not publication). The following letter is in response to Library board applies for arbitration to end 36-day strike published Aug. 25.

An open letter to the mayor, members of town council, and the library board:

I read in BradfordToday that the library board has applied to the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) to request first collective agreement arbitration to settle the strike.

The library workers have been on strike now for 42 days:

  • 44 days in which the library has been closed;
  • 44 days in which the community has been without access to programs, books, and resources;
  • 44 days in which the town has saved the wages it would have paid to 34 workers who are anxious to return to work;
  • Many days in which the town, who say they can’t afford to pay their workers the $1.35 per hour increase they are requesting, are paying lawyers to go to the OLRB. They are doing this to ask for arbitration to settle a strike that could have been settled, by meeting a request for an increase of $1.35. A request that was already negotiated down from the original request of $1.50.

Going to the OLRB means the town will be spending more money on lawyers at $500 an hour, more or less. As anyone who has used the services of a lawyer for mediation or arbitration knows, lawyers don’t come cheap.

Since September 2022, the workers, through their union, have negotiated with their employer 29 times: 29 face-to-face meetings, in which the lawyer, engaged by the town, has carried the meeting. That lawyer is not working pro bono, but being paid in the area of $500/hour.

Think 29 meetings at $500 an hour, plus the work that lawyer will put in to prepare for OLRB, and you will realize the town has spent way more than the cost of granting the employees their request.

We, as a taxpayers, as well as all other taxpayers of this town, are paying for that lawyer. I pay taxes, hoping the council will use my hard-earned money for important things needed in this town! NOT to hire a lawyer to fight against a group of employees who are asking for a small raise. That raise would cost the town $42,000 per year, a whole lot less than what a lawyer is being paid.

So, to the library board, and the council (who provide the funds for the library board, which is paid by us as taxpayers), meet the request and the needs of the library workers, and bring this strike to an end!

Leni Vander Kooij, Nancy Young, Marty Broks, Maureen Evans, Flora Nydam

Bradford residents