NEWS

Toronto Library Workers On Strike

03/18/2012 05:42 EDT | Updated 03/19/2012 03:16 EDT

Toronto library workers are on strike as of 5 p.m. ET Sunday, after failing to reach a deal with the library board.

No branches will be open and workers will hit the pickets lines on Monday.

The strike results in the closure of 98 branches and affects approximately 2,300 workers.

Talks had continued Sunday afternoon between the Toronto Public Library and its union representing library workers, in the hopes of avoiding the strike.

Both sides were in negotiations overnight and into Sunday afternoon, agreeing to extend the deadline that had been set at midnight. However, spokesman for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Cim Nunn, told CBC News he was not optimistic.

"It does not appear the employer has moved very far from their approach throughout the bargaining process, and that does not suggest they are interested in reaching a deal."

Parties ended their discussions at 12:01 a.m., changing the deadline to 3 a.m. Eventually the deadline was pushed back to noon, and again to 5 p.m.

"We do not want a labour disruption — that is a very last resort," Nunn said earlier Sunday. "We're interested in reaching a bargained conclusion to these negotiations. That's what we want. That's what everybody needs."

CUPE Local 4948 represents more than 2,300 Toronto Public Library workers. About half of those workers are part-time, and about three-quarters are women.

The workers accuse the Library Board of making unfair and impractical promises to the city this year regarding budget cuts.

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