To all Local 4948 Toronto Public Library Workers:

Moe Hosseini-Ara, Director or Branch Operations and Customer Experience, sent emails to all members on August 29 and 30, 2018. He made several statements that the Union wants to address.

Extended Open Hours Pilot “Extended Open Hours Pilot” is management’s Orwellian project of converting Todmorden and Swansea into Staffless Libraries.

While it’s true that there will be no immediate impact on staffing levels, the union believes Staffless Libraries represent the first step towards a plan to reduce staffing, increase precarity, and diminish our members’ bargaining power.

While we applaud Moe for finally communicating with members and the union about this very important issue, we are appalled that it has taken so long. In addition, Moe has not provided us with any additional information that was not already posted on the public website. Is it not a sad state of affairs when the public finds out about new initiatives before staff?

The Union is also very disappointed and concerned to see that there was NO consultation with the Union or the public on the specific issue of staffless libraries.

Why has management been so secretive? Even the Toronto Public Library Board members don’t know all the details. What are they hiding? How can they be trusted?

Open Hours Plan

The Union supports increasing open hours at TPL. But these open hours MUST be fully staffed.

Most branches today are working on skeleton crews. Branches are understaffed; members are overworked. Job placements take too long. Violent incidents are on the rise.

The Union believes these issues should be addressed (at least recognized) by management before attempting to increase open hours.

TPL’s “Open Hours Plan” is estimated to cost 18.3 million dollars. This represents a 10% increase over three years to the current operating budget.

Given the current political environment, management must know there is no reasonable expectation of achieving this funding. Even the Library Board doesn’t think they’ll attain this funding.

So why, then, is management asking for a 10% increase? Sure, you don’t get what you don’t ask for, but traditionally management’s funding requests are in-line with the Mayor’s stated targets. This year, Mayor Tory has asked for a 0% increase.

The only plausible explanation is that management is positioning itself for collective bargaining next year.

Lastly, we’d like to address Moe’s claim that, “There will be ongoing communication and collaboration with the union and staff to ensure a smooth implementation.”

Let the Union be perfectly clear. To date, management has been unwilling to communicate, consult or collaborate with the Union on these issues.

Stay tuned for further updates.

In Solidarity,

Brendan Haley,
Local 4948 President