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'Sign of respect': Council meeting moved due to library strike

‘After review of CUPE’s behaviour on the picket lines this wee, the health and safety of our residents, staff and councillors are paramount,’ says mayor

After a one-month summer break, councillors are returning to the table Tuesday evening Aug. 1, but not in the usual spot.

Normally held in the Zima Room at the Bradford West Gwillimbury Public Library, the town instead moved the meeting to the Don Harrison Auditorium at the Bradford and District Memorial Community Centre, at 125 Simcoe Road.

The town made the announcement at 5 p.m. on Friday.

Mayor James Leduc said the decision was made “out of good faith” and for safety.

“After consideration and review of CUPE’s behaviour on the picket lines this week, the health and safety of our residents, staff and councillors are paramount. We want to ensure that those who want to attend are not in harms way,” he said.

Katherine Grzejszczak, president of CUPE Local 905, called the decision “a step in the right direction,” and said she was “really happy” council decided to not cross the picket line.

“We see that as a sign of respect to the library workers, to their strike and to their picket line. Hopefully that respect continues and council finds that $1.35 increase to get this strike settled. That way, Bradford can go back to enjoying the summer programs at the library for the month of August. I think that’s a win-win for everybody,” she said.

Grzejszczak said she sent an email to Leduc on Thursday to ask if the venue could be changed.

Having received the request, Leduc said the town is also working to see if the Back Alley Cruisers car show and the Bradford Farmers’ Market can move from the library parking lot, north to the BWG Leisure Centre lot, to avoid issues with the picket.

Scheduled for 7 p.m., Tuesday's meeting agenda is a bit slim, with no committee of the whole and only two staff reports on routine matters in addition to the committee minutes and recommendations made since the last regular meeting of council on June 20.

Council is also scheduled to be in closed session starting at 5:30 p.m. to discuss library labour relations prior to the public meeting.

The union is planning a rally in support of library workers Tuesday evening, ahead of both meetings, but the details have yet to be finalized.

Michael Owen

About the Author: Michael Owen

Michael Owen has worked in news since 2009 and most recently joined Village Media in 2023 as a general assignment reporter for BradfordToday
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