Editorial: In Solidarity With CULEU

It’s Time to Reach a Deal, Concordia

Graphic Carl Bindman

Concordia’s library workers began strike action with a picket line in front of the library building Thursday afternoon, and for good reason: they deserve a fair contract without delay.

Talks began in May 2018 after the university requested changes to the library workers’ contract that would restrict advancement possibilities for new employees. The picket follows 18 months of unsuccessful negotiations with the university.

The current contract holds opportunities for employees to climb the ladder and get promoted—to have a career path. The university wants to make higher positions only accessible through prerequisites and higher academic requirements. This would lead to the stymieing of career advancement for library workers.

According to CULEU president, Kent Cluff, the library has not experienced any problems with their current model, despite the university’s efforts to force change.

So why fix what isn’t broken?

The Concordia University Library Employees’ Union has pushed back against the university’s demands, but to no avail.

As a result, library employees have been without a collective agreement for over 800 days. This is unacceptable.

We stand in solidarity with library employees. The inflexibility of the administration demonstrates an abject lack of interest in the development and welfare of university workers.

Imposing academic requirements for higher positions within the library has the potential to create a divide between job levels. Staff will no longer have the opportunity to learn and grow among peers.

Career advancement for new employees, which is one of the library’s assets as an employer according to the union, will be diminished, and this is an issue. Limiting development among employees not only decreases job satisfaction but can also lead to emotional distress. We encourage the university to prioritize equal career opportunities for all library workers.

The university must work with the CULEU to come to a fair agreement, and fast. Library employees have faced uncertainty over their working conditions for far too long.