CRESTON – Talks are off to a shaky start for a first contract at the Creston & District Public Library. After meeting with the employer for the first time this week, CUPE National Representative Lee-Anne Halifax said the two sides appear to be “miles apart.”
Halifax said the talks for a first contract were held Monday and Tuesday. The Library Association has hired the same “labour consultant” who oversaw the three-month lockout of library workers in Grand Forks. That consultant billed the community close to $30,000 in an arrangement that saw his $1,500 per day fees increase the farther the library got from a collective agreement.
In Creston, said Halifax, “things went pretty much as expected.” She said the employer “wants free range on the job duties of each of the 14 employees and would like the employees not to have job descriptions or duties - that they could just do anything that the librarian says.” Halifax added that the employer even wants to pay some employees more than others at the librarian’s personal discretion, regardless of what classification they are in!
Halifax said the good news is that the employer has agreed to the need for a mediator.