7.21.2016

from the front lines, day 18 (we have a deal!)

The Strike Is Over - We Have A Deal!

The Bargaining Team is very pleased to announce that we have reached a settlement!

This is a "tentative settlement," pending ratification by our members, then the Library Board, and Council. The Bargaining Team is very happy. We are proud of the contract we are bringing home, and we know it never could have been achieved without a strike.

Our members had the courage to use labour's most powerful tool and I believe they will feel it was worth it, both for the gains we've made on this contract, and for our future.

The ratification vote is scheduled for Monday, July 25.

7.20.2016

from the front lines, day 17

I am very pleased to announce that we had an encouraging afternoon at the table -- enough that we are meeting again tomorrow. So finally, something hopeful to report.

Maureen O'Reilly, President of 4948, TPL Workers Union, and Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario, were instrumental in breaking the impasse and getting us back to the table. I am so grateful for their help! And even more so for how much I've learned from them.

Change of Plans

Tomorrow and Friday, we are only picketing at Central, and only from 8-12. It's supposed to be scorching, and none of us should be out for extended periods.

Members who need the afternoon or evening shift can make their way to our new union hall, where everyone can call councilors, Library Board members, and/or 311. You might want to come up with a script together, to make sure you're all on the same page.

A contingent of socialists from TO were supposed to come to the line tomorrow. (They have all visited our line and donated things over the course of the past three weeks, but this time were all coming together.) Because of the weather, I've asked them to hold off. If we're striking next week, they'll visit then.

More support from CUPE Ontario

Starting tomorrow, three CUPE members from different library locals will be booked off for a few days, drawing out support for 1989 and 2974, the Essex Library Workers. One person will be calling CUPE members asking them to: (1) call the City, (2) reach out to their own networks and get commitments from others to call, and (3) have their local make donations to both locals' strike fund.

Two other people will be organizing special events for both picket lines, to generate media and help boost morale. From our great day with the Dufferin-Bloor kids, which brought the CBC to Celebration Square, you can see how that works.

The organizers of this effort have included me in their plans, so I've been able to read over what they are saying, and give feedback about what works or doesn't work for us.

All this, and every time I thank them, they say, "No, thank YOU, ALL YOUR MEMBERS, for having the courage to fight."

Reports!

Erin Meadows

A Gentleman said that he used the library to prepare for his exams. Another guy said that he was a teenager using the library lab. A young lady said her mom had been picketing with us yesterday -- and her mom emailed the the Councilors. She took a flyer and said she'll also email, because she remembers going to the library for Summer Reading Club.

Another man wanted more details from us, about wages, and what we're asking for. It began as a negative conversation, but in the end, we encouraged him to email the politicians who can answer his questions about the City budget.

Overall, many people took flyers and promised to email or call.

Two of our Meadowvale customers came to Erin Meadows to see if it was open. They said this was "disgusting" and that they are disappointed with the Mayor and the City, because kids are stuck at home watching TV all day, instead of going to library, which they love and miss so much. They support us.

Another construction worker came with his 6-year-old son for swimming lessons. He told us he is disappointed because the library is closed. He said he would call Sue McFadden, Ward 10 Councilor.

What a wonderful afternoon we had! As a picket captain. I would like to thank the eight members of my team for their cooperation.

Port Credit

We had another very productive day at Port Credit. Managers left us alone, there was no sign of security, and even Shadow the puppy dozed off. We covered the park, the playground, and many businesses along Lakeshore Road, leaving pamphlets at businesses for their customers. There was a lot of support, with the exception of only a few. I think everyone was glad to see familiar faces. Port Credit Arena staff wished us good luck.

7.19.2016

from the front lines, day 16

Picketing Today

I received great reports from our members who said Good Morning at the executive garage. Picketing at Central in general is going very well. Don't forget to make leafletting and speaking to the public your top priority.

In addition, we hit two locations today: Meadowvale and Courtneypark.

Meadowvale

"Fun Times at Meadowvale today!

"The managers were playing Pokemon Go, as they tried to chase us around and find us. We could not stop laughing.

"We had so much fun as we split up and they couldn't keep track of us. They had to chase us around the mall sidewalks, the transit terminal and even the new branch. I wonder how they liked being out today. They even asked us where the other people went when they couldn't see us all ... but we wouldn't tell them.

"All in all we had a productive few hours, talking to many members of the public who showed support for us.

"Negative news: we did learn that we cannot distribute flyers at the transit terminals. I double checked the bylaws."
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(Thanks to Azmat for the photo.)

Also from Meadowvale:

"I was coming out of Shoppers when Amy hailed me and started chatting. She must have thought I was with the picket team today. I told her I had been at Central all morning. She said she was trying to round up the seven members of the team and appeared to be frustrated that she could not find any of you. I do not think Amy had fun today in the sun.

"I also spoke to a lot of people in Shoppers and Metro. So many people miss us. Truly heartwarming. So many said keep on fighting."

Courtneypark

"Thank you for giving us the opportunity to hand out flyers to customers and the public picking up their kids from summer school.

"We had a very successful morning and met quite a few of our regular customers who were very happy to see us. They were supportive and said that they missed us and would email the mayor.

"We were able to talk to the kids attending summer school at break time and explain why the library was not open. Many said that they could not get the books or resources they needed for summer school and took the flyers be able to email the mayor and councillors.

"Parents commented on how their children could not borrow books during the summer break and missed coming to the library."

A second report from Courtneypark:

"We were very successful at reaching out to our customers today at Courtneypark. Everyone did an amazing job interacting with the public.

"Students were extremely supportive and immediately posted our flyer on social media and some emailed the Mayor right away. They also told us that they missed us and needed our resources to help them with their assignments.

"Faithful customers coming for our programs were very upset to learn that all libraries were closed. They had to make other arrangements and find programs for their children to attend at last minute. One customer mentioned that he has been using our library for the last three years in order to complete his work license and he was horrified to learn how we are being treated by our employer.

"We received lots of support from our customers and hopefully they will pass along their thoughts and concerns to our Mayor and Councilors."

Mail from the Mayor

Many of you have received the generic form letter that Mayor Crombie's office sent out. 1989 members are expressing all the disgust, anger, and head-shaking I would expect. If you haven't gotten this letter yet, you soon will. Tone deaf is an understatement.

Calls to 311

I have heard from several people that calls to 311 are not being put through to the Mayor's office. This may be so, but I promise you that every call to 311 is logged, and every opinion is tallied. Every pro-strike message is being counted. We can -- we must -- continue to urge the public to call in support.

Support

From a former member:

"I just discovered the CUPE 1989 website last night & was so impressed with the reports, the outdoor storytimes (!) & it pulled at my heartstrings seeing those familiar faces amidst all the pink, looking confident & cheery for the cause. I feel I should be there picketing with you (which I would if I was anywhere near Miss. even for a day, which I'm not) but I would like to make a donation to the strike fund asap if you could tell me how please."

Teen Volunteer Hours

A Mississauga resident and CUPE member (different local) emailed asking if his teenage daughter can volunteer to work on the strike and earn volunteer hours. The answer is yes! If you know someone who might be interested, let me know.

Random Notes

Did you know CUPE 1989 has a YouTube channel? It's a fledgling effort so far. If you have videos of our strike, can you please upload them to Dropbox or elsewhere, and give me access? I will post them.

More than 80 "Dear Valued Employee" letters were returned to Library Director Rose Vespa today. Sorry, but our landlords don't accept form letters in lieu of rent.

To everyone who is working so hard on our strike, to everyone who is on the line, to everyone who has visited us, written letters on our behalf, called the City, brought us water, sent supportive emails, or honked their horns: thanks for being out there!

7.18.2016

from the front lines, day 15

Libraries Rock!

What can you say when 50 schoolkids march to your picket line holding signs they made to support us, chanting "Kids Say: "LIBRARIES ROCK!"??? What a day!

The Dufferin-Bloor Hub camp does one social justice lesson each summer, and this summer, that lesson was US! The kids learned about labour rights, a little about the labour movement, what a strike is, and so on. They made signs -- and were each given a free book -- and came out to Mississauga to support the striking library workers.

Also on hand were the executive of CUPE Locals 4948 (TPL Workers Union!), 416, 79, and 5180. They all brought us donations of money and water, along with their support on the line.

Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario, and Yolanda McClean, CUPE National Diversity VP, arranged the whole day. When their storyteller fell through at the last minute, I told her, "Don't worry. We got this." And we sure did.

After a rousing rally, our programmers swung into action. We all took a break for the 75 pizzas CUPE Ontario had delivered, then back to more programs. With a special visitor: the CBC!

Many many thanks to: Hayley, Olivia, Jason, Fiona M, Emily, Maria C, Ylana, Fiorella, Natalie, Sumera, Abbey, Joan C, Helen, and Alene for their awesome programs - to Shane, Stella, Jayanti, and Chelsea for assisting - and especially to Kunwal to pulling the whole thing together. 1989 is one amazing team.

If you missed it, there will be lots of pics on Facebook and our website.

Media!

We had some great coverage today from CBC, both online ("Striking Mississauga Library Workers Say Some Wages Are Below Poverty Line") and on TV. (You should be able to find the video on our Facebook page.)

Almost all media coverage of our strike has been very favourable. And why not? Our demands are very modest and reasonable, and our working conditions are outrageous.

CUPE Ontario

CUPE Ontario, the political wing of our union, has already made a $5,000 donation to our strike fund, plus thrown us a big barbecue, plus today bought us pizza. But that's not all...

- We are receiving a gift of a cooling tent! It will be ours for four hours a day, so we can walk in and get misted to cool off!

- Fred Hahn and Candace Rennick are holding a telephone town hall this Wednesday night, to tell all CUPE locals in Canada to support the strikes. Two strikes have settled, two are still out (1989 and 2974 Essex Public Library), and several more are on the verge of striking. CUPE Ontario is making supporting us a high priority.

- Fred is heading up a working group to help us plan for the near future. We have been scrambling to bring special events to the line. This would map something out more long term. If we get a fair contract and no longer need the plan, all the better.

- Fred is also making a special pitch for us... not for public eyes yet. More soon, I hope!

We rock!

Today was an awesome day! I was so proud of all of us. Thank you all for standing up for yourselves and each other! And thanks to everyone who is reading this for all your support.

Celebration Square

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On The Line

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7.16.2016

from the front lines, day 13

We spent more time in the community this week, speaking to Mississauga residents about our cause, and giving the gift of free storytimes. Here are some reports.

Malton

"I had a customer tell me yesterday that he calls 3-1-1 everyday to find out when the library will be open. He asked what else he could do and I told him to continue to call everyday and also contact the emails and phone numbers on the flyer I gave him.

"Many people I spoke to are outraged by the strike and the way the City is treating us. I also talked to a mom and her daughter dropping other small children off at the pool and she was so surprised at how we are being treated and said that I really "shed a light on the true side of the city as an employer". She's always suggested to her daughter to try and get a job with the City, but is now second-guessing this choice. She said she's going to write to everyone and asked for a few extra flyers to spread the word for us.

"I think being at the branches has really made an impact. Of the two days we were at Malton, we had over 400 conversations with customers, many of which sent emails right away from their phones or took flyers/pictures of the email addresses on the flyers. These conversations can sometimes be difficult because you're not sure how someone will react but most are willing to listen and can feel the passion we have for our cause."

Meadowvale

"Just came back from Meadowvale Town Centre Metro. I asked a few people and the cashiers whether they are aware of our strike. They said NO. A few of them told me the Meadowvale branch is closed because they are moving to the community centre soon. They were not happy after hearing about the situation. They told me it's unbelievable. One cashier told me it's a great loss for the kids. She also told me she thought we were well-paid happy staff with smiles all the time. Another lady told me 'keep fighting'."

Port Credit

Storytime!

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7.15.2016

from the front lines, day 12

While Ribfest took over Celebration Square, CUPE 1989 members had another satisfying day in our communities. The managers that the City has assigned to "monitor" us (their word) and the special outside security detail came along for the ride. Because, you know, library workers are a big threat to public safety.

In our members' words and pictures, here is a bit of our day.

Erin Meadows

"I was at Erin Meadows Thursday afternoon. A customer came to return a book. He said he just came back from his vacation and he wasn't aware of the strike. When I explained our situation and gave him a flyer, he was really mad and told us he would send emails to the Mayor and Sue McFadden. He said: 'It's ridiculous, I can't believe City is treating part-time staff like this.' He also told us he will be supporting us throughout our fight. He is a customer at Erin Meadows and Meadowvale."

Frank McKechnie

"The Thursday picket at McKechnie went well. One customer was so upset with the city she called the Mayor right then and there. Of course once we heard that the City was refusing to budge in the talks, we got fired up even more and the flyers were passed out to customers fast and furious. I can't begin to tell you how angry that piece of news made me, but that is another story. I think it was great getting out to the branch and talking to our customers. It certainly seemed a lot quieter without the library open. ... This is a tough fight but we will be there for however long it takes."

Central

Most of Friday morning my striking buddies and I were on the mall side of the Ribfest and were handing out flyers. We heard some varied stories. We talked to a man who is part of the rotary and is a pastor. He mentioned he was the one that brought water bottles for the strikers. He is totally supportive. We also came across someone who said would call the city and say 'I would have emailed you, but my access to the internet at the library isn't currently available'. I thought that was a great line.

Mississauga Valley

"It was a very productive and enjoyable day. We met a family with two kids. One little girl rushed up to hug three of us. We were so touched by this, and obviously their parents were upset about the closure, but they supported us. We are like the usual front people, meeting with our customers. I agree with Rose that we are wonderful staff, and it is the staff who make library successful. However only she has a 7.3% increase."

Port Credit

"I absolutely loved talking to the public today at Port Credit. We spoke to small business owners. They are completely committed to helping the Library. We also approached people walking the streets. One lady from Australia, who always visits the library with her grandchildren at Port Credit when she visits, was disappointed this year. We also approached a group of young men (18ish); one pipes up and says "I called 311 yesterday". A page who was with us yesterday and felt uncomfortable approaching people was passing put leaflets and talking to customers - fantastic!!!"

Malton

"Our customers at Malton took our striking to heart. Here's some of the response from our regulars:

"One customer who is an author (our libraries carry copies of her books) said: 'This is stupid. Management is making so much money and you guys are doing all the work. I will email Bonnie!'

"Another customer, who is partially blind and comes to Malton every day to borrow the guitar books, said: 'It is very boring without the library. I really miss it and being in there.' He said he would email the Mayor.

"A female minister, who we help with printing, said: 'I can't believe this is happening. You people are always there for me when I need help, especially with printing my flyers and sermons. I miss it very much and some of your high school students were asking me why was the library not open, we wanted books to study for our summer school. I will definitely write to the Mayor.'

"One college student took a pile of flyers from me and said she would pass them around to all her friends. She said: 'We support you fully and love the library.'

"Another regular customer said: 'Management should be flexible and treat staff in a more humane way. This is really sad!' He comes to the library every day with his children to use the computers. He said: 'Poor people, the homeless and students needs the library!' He said in his former country he has nothing like the library. He said he will write to the Mayor!"

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Burnhamthorpe

About 20 of us covered the front doors and a highly visible intersection at the corner of Burnhamthorpe and Dixie. We had pink CUPE flags and three picket signs that indicated we work at the library. We handed out dozens of pink flyers and continuously urged people to contact the mayor. Several buses stop at that location, and everyone who got off was made aware of our cause, if he or she wasn't already. The overwhelming majority of those we encountered were highly supportive. Even three police cars honked! The best part, again, was how our group came together across all job classifications: full-timers, part-timers and pages. Twenty-year veterans and relative rookies.

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Streetsville

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And in case you missed it, from Friday's Mississauga News:
Mississauga Library Workers' Union President Alleges City Pulling 'Nasty Tricks' During Strike

7.14.2016

from the front lines, day 11

On Thursday, striking Mississauga library workers visited various branches in the system to talk with members of the community. Here are some reports and pictures.

Clarkson

"Our group was quite small, but had a big impact. We saw many patrons that attend our programs regularly. Many were picking up children from camp and were happy and surprised to see us. All were very supportive. One lady took the letter and walked away, then came back to tell us how much she supported us and how wrong it was that our Library Director got a 7.3% raise along with what City Manager Janice Baker makes ($280,000/year).

"We even had two patrons that are both former employees show up to support us, and bring us a snack. One even went to Staples to photocopy more handouts for us!! This was amazing and we were so grateful since we had almost ran out of flyers by then. We are looking forward to seeing more patrons tomorrow!"

Mississauga Valley

"People in general were happy to see us. Most of customers took our flyers and stop to talk. We took turns walking around to the back of the building and also approached families around the splash pad. Our storytime - in both English and Spanish - went very well. It was a lot of fun."

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Port Credit

"A good day at Port Credit. We had a lady pull in with Timbits. She is so angry with the way we have been treated. I think she was also at Central on Wednesday with treats. She is a Lorne Park patron. She has emailed and called. It's nice to know we have someone on our side. We walked Lakeshore and engaged people; no one refused our flyer. One business owner taped it on his front window facing out for all to see.

"Customers were very supportive. Every person we talked to promised to email the mayor (they didn't even want to call 311). One man said he is a fellow union member and would email the Mayor as soon as he got home. Three mothers, each with three kids, were disgusted by how the library staff has been treated. They've been attending various programs at Port Credit and Lakeview and also promised to email the Mayor. One 7-year-old girl wanted to hear a story so we sat down on the grass, reading. I told her we'd be back tomorrow if she wants to hear more stories. (She asked her mother if they can come back.)

"I talked with around two dozen people today in Port Credit, and after I briefly explained some of the issues, every single one of them was on board with our cause and very supportive - even the ones who were initially hesitant. We also paid a visit to MPP and Ontario Finance Minister Charles Souza's office. He wasn't in, but we said our piece to his desk staff and left our flyer. They seemed supportive, too."

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Malton

"We had people stationed at both entrances and then rotated shifts of people walking the perimeter, going close to the transit hub, and splash pad. One of us tallied the number of meaningful conversations we had as we 'roved' - approximately 200 conversations in total!

"EVERY customer we spoke to was supportive and some sent emails while waiting for their kids to come out of programs. Malton Neighbourhood Services took flyers to give to LINC students who apparently are waiting every morning for the library to open. Malton Neighbourhood Services are supportive and are sending emails. They are also bringing flyers to the Malton United for Youth meeting this Tuesday."

Sheridan

"I went to Service Ontario in the Sheridan mall and got stopped by customers there. They all want to see is back at work, but are totally supportive of our fight. One daily customer told me her story of her precarious work at the shoe store. Not one customer yet has offered anything but support. Every conversation reminds me why I go to work every day and love my job - the public we serve!"

Erin Meadows

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Frank McKechnie

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Streetsville

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Support Library Workers!

Please sign our petition, and tell the City of Mississauga: Give your library workers a fair deal!

Bonnie Crombie, Mayor
905-896-5555
mayor@mississauga.ca

John Kovac, Library Board / Council
905-896-5400
john.kovac@mississauga.ca

Matt Mahoney, Library Board / Council
905-896-5800
matt.mahoney@mississauga.ca

For more information, contact Laura Kaminker, President, CUPE Local 1989, at 647-200-1481.