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Midnight deadline could leave Sarnia library and gallery workers in the cold

Sarnia Public Library entrance
February 9, 2021 - 12:00 AM

February 9, 2021

SARNIA—Sarnia Public Library and Art Gallery workers face increasing uncertainty after Lambton County set a midnight bargaining deadline for Wednesday February 10, 2021.

“Our libraries, art galleries and broader cultural institutions are the beating heart of our communities and have continued to show their value throughout the pandemic,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President. “Library and Art Gallery workers in Sarnia deserve to be treated with respect and that includes negotiating a fair contract, free from arbitrary deadlines set by the employer.”

Unifor Local 65 represents 30 workers at the Sarnia Public Library and Art Gallery including circulation clerks, gallery assistants, and maintenance staff. Negotiations with the union and Lambton County have been ongoing since the collective agreement expired at the end of 2019.

“Our members contribute so much to our community and have worked hard to maintain access to the vital public services our library and gallery provide,” said Tim Nolan, President of Unifor Local 65. “Lambton County is trying to ram through harsh concessions at a time when workers are already hurting. Using these kinds of underhanded tactics during an unprecedented pandemic and economic crisis is fundamentally wrong and I believe Sarnians will agree. It’s time for the county to drop these unreasonable concessions immediately and negotiate a fair contract with our members.”

The ongoing pandemic has forced the library and gallery to close its doors to the public while workers continue to provide curbside and remote access to its services. The union urges Lambton County to drop its unfair concessions and continue negotiations with the Unifor Local 65 bargaining committee.  

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy. The union advocates for all working people and their rights, fights for equality and social justice in Canada and abroad, and strives to create progressive change for a better future.

To arrange interviews via Zoom, Skype or Facetime please contact Unifor Communications Representative David Molenhuis at david.molenhuis@unifor.org or 416-575-7453 (cell).