Library workers not ‘Cheap and Easy’

CALGARY – Six hundred and fifty unionized employees of Calgary Public Libraries have rejected a mediator’s recommendations for new contract, said Rh’ena Oake, President of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 1169.

“The proposed wage increases of 3%, 3.5% and 3.5% over a three year contract does not reflect the reality of Calgary’s economy,” said Oake.    “Our members want a fair wage settlement, and a salary that allows for a decent standard of living in a booming city.”

Oake said employees are insulted by the Library’s ‘Cheap and Easy’ campaign.  “We’re the cheap labour,” says Oake.  “The Calgary Public Library has the highest usage and circulation per borrower in Canada yet spends the lowest on salaries in the country.”

“The Library Board uses these budget ratios to illustrate the ‘efficiency’ of library staff, but they are indifferent to the fact they have created a ‘pink collar ghetto,’ said Oake.  “Library employees are primarily female and more than 50% of all employees work in part-time jobs.”

“We’re looking for a settlement based on the reality of the cost of living in Calgary and have sent a letter today to both the Mediator and the Board inviting them back to the bargaining table and we’re hoping to receive a positive response.”

Contact: Rh’ena Oake

President, CUPE 1169

(403) 616-4184

For more information about CUPE Alberta, visit


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