New building could mean job loss for library workers

Union upset Library Board won’t allow employees access to branch jobs

CALGARY – The union representing 600 mostly female Library Board employees says construction of a new downtown library will result in layoffs.

Rhena Oake, President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1169, says the board is treating full-time and part-time employees differently.

The library is raising funds for a new building to replace the ageing structure at 616 MacLeod Trail SE.  During construction, the library will pare down its downtown operations.  All full-time staff will be sent out to branch locations but part-time employees, will not be given the same consideration.

“Some of these employees have been with the Library Board for years,” said Oake.  “It amazes me that the board would cast these people aside after they have put so much into our libraries.”

Oake said the issue is becoming a major sticking point in the negotiations for a new contract between the union and the board.  CUPE applied this week for the assistance of a mediator to get a deal.

“The library funding is going to remain the same during the closure, and they are pledging to provide the same level of service, so I don’t know why they can’t treat all employees the same.”

Other issues in negotiations include the fact employees don’t get paid for the time it takes to close branches.

“Library workers have to stay in the building until the last patron leaves,” said Oake. “But sometimes a patron can linger after closing hours.  What the public probably doesn’t know is that employees only get paid up to the closing time.  The library expects us to stick around and close the building for free.”

Contact: Rhena Oake

President, CUPE 1169


Lou Arab

Communications Representative


For more information about CUPE Alberta, visit


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