A little more than one week after publicly stating his support for Bradford’s striking library workers, library board member Dillon McDowell declared his resignation.
McDowell made the announcement Thursday evening (Aug. 31) on social media, where he said his resignation was effective Aug. 23, about eight months after the current board began its term with their first meeting on Jan. 16.
“Though my time on the board was brief, it was a period of immense learning and growth, and I am grateful for the experiences it offered,” he said in the statement.
The former board member declined an interview request from BradfordToday and declined to provide the reason for his resignation, saying only that it was an important decision for him.
“While I may no longer be a part of the board, my commitment to Bradford West Gwillimbury remains resolute. I will continue to support the library's initiatives and the community's pursuit of knowledge, growth, and cultural enrichment. I am excited to see the library flourish and contribute to the vibrant tapestry of our town,” he said in the statement.
Library board chair Licinio Miguelo said McDowell submitted his resignation from the board to the mayor and council by his own choice.
“We thank him for his contributions over the past eight months and wish him well on all future endeavours,” Miguelo said via email.
While McDowell had to wait for council approval before he could release a public statement, he explained he submitted his resignation to the board on Aug. 23 — just two days after making an earlier public statement on social media, in which he firmly backed striking library workers.
“I am honoured to express my unwavering support for the library workers’ fight for $1.35. As both a board member and an advocate for justice, I firmly stand behind their pursuit of fair representation and inclusivity within our library system,” he said at the time.
The Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 905 is representing the 36 striking workers at the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library, who have been on strike since July 21 when negotiations over their first collective agreement came to a head.
The union is asking for a wage increase for workers of $1.35 per hour each year for two years.
McDowell explained he was standing in solidarity with workers based on his work advocating for fairness and his experiences as a person with a disability, which makes him familiar with the inequities non-dominant groups can face.
“I wholeheartedly support CUPE’s petition for $1.35, not only because it aligns with my personal values, but because it aligns with the principles of equity and justice that our library and our community hold dear,” he said, while calling on the community to unite in support of the library workers.
The same statement was later published by BradfordToday on Aug. 24 as a letter to the editor.
For this term, library board members originally included Licinio Miguelo, chair; Ward 1 Coun. Cheraldean Duhaney, vice chair; Ward 4 Coun. Joseph Giordano; Ferguson Mobbs; Jen Turner; Diana Sheeler and Dillon McDowell.
The opportunity to fill McDowell’s absence from board committees, including the role of Friends of the Library Liaison, will be presented to current board members, according to Miguelo.