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UPDATED: Thunder Bay Public Library workers receive termination letters

CUPE says it is in discussions with the library about the situation.
Brodie Library Winter
The Brodie Street library is one of the branches operated by the Thunder Bay Public Library (TBNewswatch file)

THUNDER BAY — The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the employment status of workers at the Thunder Bay Public Library.

According to the Canadian Union of Public Employees, the TBPL has issued letters of termination to 20 casual staff, effective March 23, 2021.

The union also announced Wednesday that it has received a Notice of Layoff which provides it with a 30-day notice of potential layoff scenarios due to COVID-19.

Local 3120 represents more than 75 library staff.

President Margaret Demillo said discussions with TBPL management about the situation are ongoing.

After CUPE's announcement, the library issued a statement saying it met with union officials on Tuesday to outline the layoff procedure and how the layoff clause in the collective agreement would be implemented should the library have to shut down completely again due to the pandemic.

"As much as possible, unionized staff who can perform meaningful work from home will do so if library buildings have to close," the statement said.

It said TBPL has kept all permanent staff working as much as possible over the past year, while keeping the safety of staff and the community "at the forefront at all times in our safe and slow approach to offering library service."

However, the reduction in operating hours resulting from COVID has meant that casual staff, who supplement permanent and part-time workers, have not worked over the past year.

Pursuant to the collective agreement, the statement said, these members have now been notified of termination as a result of a lack of work for the foreseeable future.

A spokesperson told TBNewswatch that all managerial staff have continued to work during the pandemic.

Gary Rinne

About the Author: Gary Rinne

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Gary started part-time at Tbnewswatch in 2016 after retiring from the CBC
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