Showing posts with label toronto and mississauga. Show all posts
Showing posts with label toronto and mississauga. Show all posts

9.08.2018

selling vinyl in the gta? go to volver for honesty, integrity, and maximum cash

In July, I wrote that we planned to get rid of our LP collection. Well, the deed is done. We turned this


into this

first round

then this

What's left: classical, soundtracks, CD box sets,
and albums Allan didn't want to part with (front).

and finally, this.


We got much more money than we expected, thanks to the honesty and integrity of Lincoln Stewart.

* * * *

For the most part, the business of buying used LPs and CDs is a bit shady, a half-step up from a scam. When Allan was a music critic, we used to trade CDs for cash on a regular basis. We got those CDs for free and they meant nothing to us, so whatever the buyer -- the owner of the used record store -- wanted to give us was free money. The buyer would make a few piles, and say, "Five dollars each for these, three dollars for these, and a buck apiece for these." It was a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. We never knew what they would sell the CDs for.

With our LPs, it was very different. This was a personal collection, built over time, mostly music we cared about. Allan didn't want to sell them for pennies. There was also the physical work of selling them -- boxing them up, loading them into our little car, and driving around to used music stores was not very appealing!

Then I found Volver, run by Lincoln Stewart. Here's Lincoln in his own words.
I'm the former manager of Vortex Records and the former owner of Good Music, two much-loved and well-respected Toronto record stores. Both establishments had sterling reputations for fairness and quality. Vortex was the most highly-thought-of used record store in Toronto for almost 40 years, with The Toronto Star calling us "an oasis for music lovers," and more than a dozen "Best Record Store" wins and nominations in the city's newspapers' annual "People's Choice Awards" (Now Magazine, Eye Magazine, The Grid, etc.).

I now buy and sell top-shelf used records (and other things) out of my Dundas West loft. (Don't let the lack of a storefront scare you -- it's by choice, having sold the entire inventory of Good Music to a competitor and entering semi-retirement in 2016 at age 48.)

My motto is Quality records bought and sold. Fair prices in and out. That means I'm not trying to screw you. I pay half of what I intend to sell a record for. Period. If I'm gonna sell it for $20, I'll pay you $10. If I think I can sell your record for $50, that's $25 in your wallet. It's that simple. Unlike some of my competitors, I do not advertise that I "pay up to 60%" and then pay you good money for two records and pennies for everything else. If I want the record -- and admittedly, I'm very picky -- I'll pay you 50%. Doesn't matter if it's a $75 record or a $750 record. No exceptions.
And here's where it gets really interesting.
Importantly, I don't expect you to be the expert. Maybe you don't know you've got an $80 record. I'll tell you -- when I offer you $40. I have bought and sold vinyl in Toronto since 2005. It's what I do. Over the years, the stores I've run have paid out over a million dollars for people's used music and movies. I've bought from those who've inherited records they know absolutely nothing about and I've bought from the most informed record collectors in the city -- and every type of seller in between. Everyone gets treated the same way and I have the testimonials to back that up.

Most important to me is my reputation: the amount I offer a for a record is based solely on that record's resale value to me, not on how much profit I can make on the title. This policy is the direct opposite of many of my competitors who want to pay as little as possible and sell for as much as possible.
Impressive, eh?

Here's what happened. Lincoln came to our apartment. Each album that he was interested in, he took out of its sleeve to inspect it. Some figures he double-checked on his laptop, using databases that catalogue used records sales all over the world. (Who knew?) He added up what he would sell the albums for, offered us a price, and offered to show us exactly how each album was valued.

I was amazed to learn that we owned several LPs that were actually considered valuable! Their re-sale value had nothing to do with the music itself, but was based on the scarcity of a particular pressing. The top-earning LP was a pressing of some promotional Metallica album that we didn't even know we had, worth $185.

I remember as a teenager hearing kids brag about having an album worth some outlandish sum of money, and I always thought they were bullshitting -- which I'm sure they were. But I didn't realize there actually are albums worth thousands, rare pressings of jazz and blues (and some rock) that collectors all over the world search for.

I found the process fascinating, and asked Lincoln lots of questions, which he was happy to answer. Lincoln is a very nice guy with an interesting background, and a great deal of musical knowledge -- plus a nice dog. He arrived when he said he would, brought his own canvas bags to transport the LPs, and was very organized and efficient. When Diego wouldn't leave him alone, Lincoln asked, "Would it help if I gave him my undivided attention for five minutes?" then gave Diego a huge amount of love and attention. We were very impressed! (Diego loved it, but it didn't help; we had to give him a time-out in the bedroom.)

To me, the Volver 50% guarantee is fair for both parties, buyer and seller. Every day, Lincoln sends a message to his list of interested buyers with a small selection of choice LPs and prices. People come to his Toronto loft and buy them for the advertised price. All sales are in person -- no shipping -- and there's no haggling. You know I like that!

So how did we do?

Lincoln was interested in about 300 LPs, and offered us $1860. (See first round, above.) He also gave us some tips on who might buy the remainder of the collection, and how much we should expect to get for it -- very valuable information.

Shortly after, Lincoln learned about another sales opportunity, so he was interested in buying the rest of our collection himself, and offered us another $400. All told, we traded our LPs for $2260.

Allan held back a small pile of LPs that have particular value to him. It turned out one of them, based on the colour of the label, is worth $150. Allan declined. I was very impressed -- and slightly annoyed.

Last week, during the Springsteen on Broadway show, I suddenly had a pang of loss, thinking of my copy of "Born to Run," with its iconic cover art. A foundational album for me, music that moves me more than I can express. But I have the album on CD, and there's no shortage of ways to see the cover images and more from the same shoot. I can live with that.

So. We earned a pile of cash. We lightened our load. It required minimal effort. It was fair to both buyer and seller. And now other people will have the opportunity to enjoy those LPs. All in all, a very good deal.

If you live near (or can easily visit) Toronto, and you have LPs to sell, you can't do better than Lincoln Stewart and Volver.

6.09.2018

what i liked, what i hated, and what i don't understand: a list about my election campaign

I agreed to stand for election because it was an opportunity -- an opportunity to bring a progressive perspective to a riding where those ideas are usually overlooked, and a personal opportunity to expand my own skills and experience. Overall, it was a positive experience -- because it was so short-term. If it had been gone on for six months or a year, I would have been miserable! Here's what I liked, what I hated, and what I just don't get.

Positives

1. I met a lot of people! Community activists, progressive-minded neighbours, minority voices in our suburban city. Strangers reached out to support our campaign, to encourage me personally, and with ideas of how they could help. I loved making these connections. It was personally gratifying, and it also expanded my own network in the community.

2. It was a completely immersive experience. I was fortunate to be able to take a leave-of-absence from both library and union work, so I could campaign full-time. I felt exactly like I did during our library workers' strike in 2016 -- completely obsessed. I woke up every morning before dawn, super-charged with energy, and worked like mad the entire day. If I created a brain-map for these times, 95% of it would be the strike or campaign, with a tad leftover to take care of myself physically and remember my partner and dog. I would not have the stamina to do that for months on end, but for a few weeks, it was exciting.

3. I believed we could improve people's lives. There's a unique buzz you get from advocating on someone else's behalf, and fighting for what you believe in. I fight for better working conditions and the rights of our union's members all the time, and I love it. I got a glimpse of doing that on a larger stage, having more opportunity to improve people's lives. That was exciting.

4. I loved the challenge. I used skills I've been honing in both work and union -- leadership, strategizing, planning, listening, researching, reacting.

5. I believed so deeply in the platform. I never would have or could have done it otherwise.

Negatives

1. Being photographed so much. This was the worst part of the strike and it was the worst part of campaigning. It started off with a horrible experience getting my headshots done -- every single thing about the experience set up for failure -- and continued that way through the whole campaign, as I was forced to see images of myself all the time. I hated this.

2. Being cut off from much of my support network. Candidates are strongly advised to take their personal social media accounts offline during the campaign. I tried just being quiet and more circumspect than usual, but quickly found I was causing other people more work and concern, so I complied with the recommendation. I have many friends and fellow activists that I mostly see only on Facebook. Being cut off from my network was stressful.

3. Taking this blog offline. I hated this.

4. Having to moderate my responses to be appropriate for a candidate. The hotheaded temper of my younger days has long since mellowed and is well under control. But I still prefer a blunt response to a measured one. I zipped my lip... but I didn't like it!

5. Having so little time and so few resources. The NDP reached out to potential candidates in Mississauga very late, and for the most part, we candidates were on our own. The party used a central online platform -- a great tool -- but the structure and guidance it offered applied mostly to large campaigns with solid funds and an army of volunteers. I was able to access some guidance through CUPE, and about 80% of our donations and volunteers came through my own networks. I assume the Party's candidate search probably identifies people who have networks they can leverage, but it was inadequate.

What's up with that?

1. What is the effectiveness of lawn signs? They provide name recognition, but do they translate into votes?

I got calls and emails from many people complaining that they did not see my signs around Mississauga. They were often angry or at least very annoyed, implying our campaign was failing. They clearly equated signs with votes, and they thought we had failed to understand the importance of these signs.

Lawn signs are very expensive, and Mississauga Centre is large and sprawling. The Liberal candidate had enormous signs and they were everywhere. When we investigated the price of those signs, and the number you would need to achieve a noticeable presence, we were amazed at how much she must have spent. Allan's rough estimate was that the Liberals may have spent 8-10 times our entire budget on signs and door leaflets alone. (Our budget was $5,000, and we spent around $7,500.)

Instead, we chose to put our resources into printing. We focused on the many huge apartment and condo towers in the riding. A tiny band of dedicated volunteers put a leaflet in front of every door of more than 90 buildings. This reached a lot of people -- but it isn't public, the way signs are.

Our strategy also included a limited round of phone calls to likely sign takers, leafletting community events, meet-and-greets outside mosques, and every possible public appearance. When we received a sign request, I would contact the requester and invite them to canvass their neighbourhood with me.

Despite our lack of signage, we came in second with about 27% of the vote.

2. Why would people call a candidate for general election information?

I fielded many calls from people who received a leaflet and wanted to know where to vote, how to register to vote, why they hadn't received a voting card, what riding they are in, and so on. I returned every single phone call, and supplied whatever information was needed. Part of that is the librarian in me, and part of it is wanting the caller to come away with a favourable impression of their NDP candidate.

But why would anyone do this? Is the answer "because they don't know how to find information, and one phone number is as good as the next"?

3. Why can't people find the name of a candidate in any party?

We received many emails and phone calls from aggrieved residents saying they didn't know who the candidate was -- often because they didn't see any signs. Many of these emails were forwarded to me from the central party! If they could figure out how to email the NDP, why couldn't they figure out how to look up the name of a candidate?

4. Why do people expect a personal contact initiated by a candidate?

We did very little "door-knocking" (in-person canvassing) or phone calling, because we deemed it a very poor use of our limited resources. This contradicted advice from the central party, so I frequently questioned our decision. Then Allan and I would estimate how many people we could reasonably expect to reach in person, given the size of the riding and our small number of volunteers -- and we affirmed our decision every time.

When I did canvass, I was wholly unprepared for this reaction: "We haven't received a single phone call, not one knock on our door, not one word from any candidate!" This is said with resentment and hurt feelings. More than one person told me she would vote for me because I was the only candidate she met! In a riding of 85,000 potential voters, in a city with a population of 750,000, why would residents expect personal contact initiated by a candidate? Is this extreme passivity?

5. In a parliamentary system, where members of the legislative body vote in a block according to party, why is personal contact so important?

People want their candidate to be smart, honest, dedicated, and so on. I get that. But in a parliamentary system, the personal attributes of your representative are really not very important. What matters is where the party stands on various issues, and how many seats they win. You're voting for the party leader and the party platform. Yet many people vote for an incumbent because they're thought to be a nice guy or they host community barbecues.

6.08.2018

on poppies, veterans, trolls, and doxing

First of all, I do not apologize.

I have nothing to apologize for. No one should apologize for having an unpopular opinion, or an opinion that the majority finds offensive.

Second, I said nothing disrespectful to veterans. My utter lack of respect -- my undying contempt -- is for rulers whose policies send humans into unnecessary armed conflict. Those rulers pay lip-service to "supporting" troops, while their policies ensure more humans will suffer from the effects of war.

If you're joining us in progress, here's what you missed. 

Before the election, I took all my personal social media offline. We knew that the opposition would dedicate vast resources to digging up or fabricating anything they could use against NDP candidates. For some reason, no one directed me to remove wmtc links from the Wayback Machine (i.e., internet archives). This proved to be a grave error.

A right-wing political hack who masquerades as a journalist received excerpts from some old wmtc posts from a troll source. I know this because Hack forwarded Troll's email to me, with the identifiers scrubbed.

Hack did what hacks do, and trolls did what trolls do. Hack kept this going for way longer than any of us expected, dedicating three columns to me, and mentioning my name in several other columns. Eventually it was reported on by more mainstream media.

The right-wing attack machine moved from candidate to candidate, digging up tiny bits of online fodder, distorting and quoting out of context, in a ludicrous attempt to portray the NDP as a hotbed of wacko radicalism.

Doug Ford and his party waged the worst kind of campaign possible: they obfuscated facts, and relied on lies, sloganeering, and mudslinging.

Andrea Horwath and our party were consistently positive, focused, truthful, and precise.

That the majority of voters in Ontario chose the former over the latter is profoundly disturbing.

Doxing

I thought I knew what it was like to be attacked by trolls, from early wmtc days. I was wrong. The trolls who attacked this blog were annoying gnats who could be easily batted away. The troll attack orchestrated by Hack & Co. was a whirling swarm of angry hornets, the size of a midwest twister.

Their weapons were the most vulgar kind of personal insults, and graphic threats of violence.

I have pretty thick skin and don't tend to take things personally. My union sisters and brothers often describe me as "fearless". But this was a form of violence, and it shook me.

I'm lucky that it didn't affect my outlook, my opinions, or my self-esteem. That's down to the amazing support I had -- from the party, from my union, from friends, and from strangers who agreed with my views and reached out to me. Because of this support, I was shielded from most of the invective. I saw only a small portion of it, yet that was enough to shake me. I felt that my personal safety was threatened. That's not easy to do to me.

It's difficult -- nay, impossible -- for me to understand this kind of behaviour. The whitehot anger, the fervor so easily ignited -- the immediate willingness to attack, the assumed entitlement to say anything to anyone, hiding behind the anonymity of the internet. The seeming inability to respectfully disagree. It is truly beyond my understanding.

What I think about poppies, militarism, and veterans


I wrote the now-infamous post about the poppy symbols at a time when Prime Minister Stephen Harper was flogging the war machine in Afghanistan. I have a deeply held opposition to war, and I wanted Canada out of Afghanistan.

I also link the symbolic poppy to the general militarism that infects our society -- where "support the troops" is code for "support the war". Militarism takes many forms, including recruiting in schools, honouring military members at sporting events, using weapons as entertainment, such as air shows, and for me, the ubiquitous poppy symbol.

Naturally I understand that the majority does not view the poppy symbol this way. Hundreds tried to enlighten me, as if somehow the view of the vast majority hadn't reached my ears. But guess what? I disagree.

I have never written or said anything that disparages veterans. On the contrary, the pages of this blog are replete with disgust for the governments that disrespect veterans by slashing funding for their health and rehabilitation. My "11.11" category is about peace. If wanting peace disrespects veterans, we are living in an Orwellian nightmare.

What supporting veterans should look like

I have no doubt that for some people the poppy is a potent symbol, and that they believe wearing this symbol shows respect and reverence for veterans. I have never suggested that other people shouldn't wear poppies. I simply choose not to wear one. (I don't refuse to wear one, as the memes said. I choose not to.)

To me, if we truly want to support veterans and military servicemembers, we must do two things.

One, create and fully fund a robust array of supports for people who have suffered from war, to support their physical and mental well-being. Our society does not do that.

And two, stop making war. Stop creating veterans. Search for ways to resolve conflicts that do not involve killing people. And never use war as a means to profit.

Until these things are done, you can cover yourself in poppies, and your "support" and "respect" will be as false as the plastic flowers you revere.

A final word about respect

I don't disrespect veterans. But I don't automatically respect someone because they are a veteran.

Many people contribute to our society through their work or their passions. Others harm our society with selfishness, greed, violence, and unkindness. When people are kind and generous, when they act with compassion and integrity, I respect them. When they do the opposite, I do not. This is as true for veterans as it is for teachers, social workers, nurses, or politicians.

People who hurl crude insults at strangers because they cannot abide a difference of opinion, but who claim to love freedom and respect veterans, are ignorant wretches. I don't respect them. I pity them.

where i've been and where i'm going

Where to begin?

Not blogging for the last eight weeks has been difficult! I was reminded how much I need to write, and how much I enjoy writing for readers. I have so much to catch up on -- I've been keeping a list -- but I don't want to overwhelm you. (For selfish reasons: I want you to read!) I'm going to blog my heart out, but I'll schedule only one daily post. At least that's the plan.

The timeline runs something like this.

April 7 - Ontario NDP search committee contacts me.

April 9 - I agree to seek the nomination for the NDP in my riding; vetting begins.

April 16 - Allan and I go to Vancouver Island with my brother and sister-in-law who live in Oregon. More than just a vacation, this was an exploratory trip, as we are considering moving there.

April 20 - I am cleared to seek the nomination.

April 24 - We return home from Vancouver Island.

April 29 - I attend my first official NDP event, Andrea Horwath's campaign kickoff rally in Hamilton.

May 6 - I am officially nominated as the NDP candidate for Mississauga Centre.

May 7 - I begin leave-of-absence from work and union responsibilities.

May 9 - Writ drops (election begins)

- whole bunch of stuff happens -

June 7 - Rob Ford's Conservative party wins majority government; Andrea Horwath's NDP becomes official opposition party. We placed second in the riding, getting 27% of the vote -- almost double the usual percentage for NDP in Mississauga, and the first time the Party has come in second here. Other Mississauga ridings have similar results.

The outcome is grim. Not for me personally! I return to work that I love, both as a librarian and a union activist. I learned a lot, met wonderful people, and gained valuable experience. No worries for me.

But the outlook for the people of our province is terrible. Many, many people will suffer. The richest will get richer on the backs of the poor and working class. The middle class will continue to struggle mightily to maintain a decent quality of life; many will be unable to. Racism, misogyny, homophobia, and white nationalism will rise and become more socially acceptable.

The majority of Ontarians have made a terrible choice, acting against their own best interests.

5.12.2018

elect laura kaminker for mississauga centre

Dear friends of wmtc:

I have been nominated as the NDP candidate for Mississauga Centre, the riding where I live and work. You can follow my campaign here on the web, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

I am very excited to work for the people of Mississauga Centre, to help bring change for the better. Under the leadership of Andrea Horwath, Ontario can recover from the devastating effects of past governments and begin to work for us, the working people of this great province.

We need to break the pattern that has been holding us back: moving back and forth from Liberal government to Conservative, going from bad to worse and back again. We need a bold leap to something different: change for the better. Only the New Democrats offer that. I'm enormously proud to represent Ontario's NDP, and to be part of the solution.

I hope I can count on your support.

With love and solidarity for all,

Laura Kaminker

3.25.2018

from the 2018 cupe ontario library workers conference: libraries and the opioid crisis

I recently attended the CUPE Ontario Library Workers Conference, which has become a highlight of my year since I first attended (and was elected to the organizing committee) in 2015. It has eclipsed and replaced the OLA Superconference as the most relevant and enjoyable must-attend conference in my schedule.

When I first got my librarian degree, I was very excited about attending my first "OLA" (as it's always called). But I quickly learned that the sessions are a crap-shoot, sometimes relevant but often obvious and dull. There's also a great deal of boosterism by OLA and the member libraries. For the difference between the two conferences, for OLA, think employers and libraries, for CUPE Ontario, think labour and library workers.

In recent years, our Library Workers Conference has focused on precarious work and health and safety issues, two themes that are inextricably linked. This year's conference was called "Sex, Drugs & Bed Bugs," a light take on very serious health and safety issues. My full report is here on the CUPE 1989 website. (No bed bugs are pictured there.)

* * * * *

The most moving part of the conference -- by far -- was a talk by outreach worker Zoe Dodd. Zoe has worked with marginalized people with HIV and Hepatitis C, and now her work has shifted to the opioid overdose crisis. She and her co-workers -- who are mostly volunteers -- had been telling the government that this crisis was looming for the past decade, but their alarm fell on ears that refused to hear.

Now the deaths from fentanyl overdoses eclipse those from HIV at the height of the AIDS crisis. Last year there was a 52% increase of fentanyl deaths over the previous year. Yet Ontario has refused to call this a public health crisis. British Columbia is the only Canadian province to declare opioid overdoses a public health emergency -- and this has saved thousands of lives.

Zoe Dodd (middle) and co-workers in Moss Park, Toronto
Death by overdose, Zoe told us, is preventable. The majority of those affected are already marginalized people living in poverty. (Indigenous people are 400 times more likely to die of an overdose than the general population.) Thousands who survive end up in comas, on life support.

There were coordinated emergency health efforts for both H1N1 and SARS outbreaks; lives were saved by those decisions. But when it comes to drug use, governments spend almost exclusively on enforcement, rather than harm reduction. That is, they treat drug addiction as a criminal issue rather than a health issue. This is a moralistic decision -- and a lethal one.

Frustrated and angry over both Ontario's and the City of Toronto's inaction, Zoe and her comrades acted on their own. They brought 10,000 vials of naloxone -- the drug that reverses fentanyl overdoses -- into Canada before it was legal. They raised $95,000 online. They pitched a tent and opened a site, staffed entirely by volunteers. At the conference, we were so proud to learn that CUPE Ontario bought the group a trailer, so they could safely serve more people! They did this while it was still illegal, a fact that makes me feel really good about my union.

This intrepid band of volunteers forced Ontario and Canada to change their policies. Now harm reduction sites are opening across the province -- including in Mississauga.

What does this have to do with library workers? Only everything. Libraries, as public spaces, are often places of drug use and of overdose. Library workers across North America are being trained in the use of naloxone, and they are saving lives.


Zoe addressed some myths about naloxone use, demystifying the process for all in the room. Many people -- including 1989 officers -- thought there was a danger of a person coming out of an overdose becoming aggressive and violent. Turns out this is simply untrue. Typically a person coming out of a drug overdose is groggy and confused. Their brain has shut down from lack of oxygen, and naloxone is beginning to restore the flow of oxygen to their brain. Far from being violent, they are only gradually waking up.

Many people believe that administering naloxone is dangerous, as we can be exposed to fentanyl or naloxone. This is also untrue. Fentanyl must be ingested to be harmful. Naloxone, Zoe said, is virtually "idiot proof". If a person is not overdosing, the drug has no effect. But if they are overdosing, it will save their life. (Note that more than one dose of naloxone may be needed.)

The most moving and disturbing part of Zoe's talk was hearing how she and her co-workers have suffered. Outreach workers and the people they serve are often one community. The pain they witness and endure is staggering. In one year, Zoe lost 30 clients and six friends. Outreach workers have committed suicide, overwhelmed by grief. There is a secondary crisis of trauma among the workers who have witnessed so much death. Now these workers are using their grief and anger to drive change. It was incredibly moving and inspiring.

The CUPE 1989 executive wants to get involved. For starters, we've decided on a three-part course of action. One, we'll get trained in the use of naloxone. Two, we will share this education with our members and our employer. And three, we will advocate for a greater role of social services in our libraries. We hope to host Zoe Dodd in our own libraries.

There have been some good stories about Zoe and her co-workers.

Meet the harm reduction worker who called out Trudeau on the opioid crisis in Vice

Front-line workers struggle to cope with opioid crisis in an issue of Now magazine with a great cover, and

'Drowning in all this death': outreach workers want help to fight drug overdose 'emergency' on CBC.ca.

This is the video of Zoe Dodd addressing Justin Trudeau during one of his extended photo-ops.


* * * * *

This year's group exercise at the conference was listing the "Top 10 Crimes" we've witnessed or heard about in our libraries.

Toronto Public Library tops the list with a murder -- by cross-bow. Naturally, theft is big. Sex in the stacks and study rooms. Public masturbation, urination, defecation. Attempted kidnapping. Illegal drug use and drug dealing, of course. Harassment. Sexual assault.

The crimes that appeared on the most lists were crimes against children: abuse, neglect, abandonment.

* * * * *

And since this is, after all, my personal blog, I'll share that I have been elected chairperson of the CUPE Ontario Library Committee. It's not like I need anything else to do! But our long-time chair has stepped down (more on that later), and I felt like I had to step up.

7.07.2017

happy strike-iversary!






The City of Mississauga has a community recognition program, through which community groups can have their banner fly at City Hall for a day. When the program was announced, I said to a few of my union sisters, "I know a flag I'd like to see there...". I was only joking -- but they took me seriously! This morning, to the astonishment of many, the beautiful pink CUPE 1989 banner is flying beside Mississauga City Hall!

This week marks one year since the members of CUPE Local 1989, Mississauga Library Workers, walked off their jobs and onto the picket lines. It was the first strike in our local's history and the first strike against the City of Mississauga.

I am a member and now the president of Local 1989. In the past year, I've been invited to speak on panels, in conferences and conventions, in rallies, meetings, and gatherings of labour activists. Our local was honoured at the CUPE Ontario convention, and featured in a conference called "Building Strong Locals," held in Halifax. Everybody wants to hear how we built a winning strike, and it's been my great honour to share my reflections.

I never get tired of talking about the gains we made, especially for our lowest-paid members, and about how the strike transformed lives. But except to my partner and a few others, I don't talk about how the strike and my union work effects me personally.

Leading the bargaining team, the strike, and our union has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my life. I love being a librarian, but even that is far outweighed by the satisfaction I find from my union work. Leading our team through bargaining and through the strike used -- and tested -- everything I had. It felt like all my experience, all my knowledge, and all my skills, from every thread of my life, had come together for this purpose. That was extremely exciting and energizing.

It also came at the right time in my life. I'm less volatile, more focused; I have a longer fuse, and a good deal more common sense. Dealing with the physical and mental limitations from my health issues was not always easy, but I'd rather struggle with getting enough rest at 55 than popping off in tirades at 25. (I did pop off once or twice in bargaining. Hey, I'm entitled to some fun!)

Our union continues to thrive. We're enforcing the terms of our collective agreement, protecting gains we have made, and always, always, always striving to engage our members. We're also identifying and developing future leaders, so the gains we've made don't unravel when the current team steps away.

I've made great friendships. Like my comrades from the War Resisters Support Campaign, these friends are from greatly diverse backgrounds and lives, linked by our belief and commitment to this work.

Tonight, members of CUPE 1989 will gather for our "strike-iversary," to reminisce about the experience and reflect on what we gained, how we've changed, and what lies ahead.

3.24.2017

ontario librarians: should the ola support staffless libraries?

This week, the Toronto Public Library announced plans to open libraries with no staff. Not just no librarians -- we've seen that in many places -- but no staff whatsoever.

This was bad enough, but we were further horrified to see that the Ontario Library Association, a membership-based organization that is supposed to further the interests of libraries and librarians, seems to support this idea. OLA Executive Director had the chutzpah to re-frame this as "innovative".

If you are a librarian in Ontario, I hope you will provide feedback to the OLA through this petition: The OLA Should Oppose Staffless Libraries. Please consider sharing with your own library network.

* * * *


* * * *

March 23, 2017

Shelagh Paterson
Executive Director
Ontario Library Association
Toronto, Ontario

Dear Ms. Paterson:

We, the undersigned, are public librarians in the province of Ontario and members of the Ontario Library Association (OLA). We are concerned and disturbed by the OLA’s apparent support for current trends in library staffing that are grossly detrimental to our profession and to the public we serve.

The Toronto Public Library has announced plans to open staffless libraries. This is antithetical to the core values of our profession and to our shared vision of what libraries are and should be.

In a Toronto Star article about this development, you are quoted as saying, “we’re very lucky here in Ontario that we have a library culture that is willing to try new things . . . and I would say that sometimes what drives that is budget cuts.”

We are deeply disturbed that, rather than advocating for adequate library funding, the OLA would re-define budget cuts as a driver of innovation.

The Star article also quotes you as saying, “I think you may not actually see the librarian in your visit to the library, but there is a librarian behind the scenes putting it all together and delivering a really excellent service.”

A staffless library can never be “a really excellent service.” Librarians and library staff “behind the scenes” of a building devoid of people are not enough. A truly excellent library service is one in which educated, trained professionals offer a wide range of services that support literacy, lifelong learning, and social engagement, and enable communities to thrive.

The คาสิโนออนไลน์ แจกเครดิตฟรี 2019OLA’s mission statement states that the organization enables members to “deliver exemplary library and information services throughout Ontario.” A library without librarians – indeed, a library without library staff of any kind – is not an exemplary library, and is indeed not a service of any kind.

Further, the OLA’s vision of an Ontario where everyone is “free to imagine, learn and discover, and recognize and celebrate library and information services as an essential resource for realizing individual aspirations and developing communities” is exactly the opposite of the current trend towards minimal – and now, nonexistent – staffing. A staffless library privileges members of our community who are affluent, information-rich, and technologically literate, and increases social inequality.

We believe the OLA should unequivocally oppose the staffless library.

We believe the OLA should actively advocate for well funded, fully staffed libraries, and should actively promote the value to the community of librarians and other educated, trained library staff.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned Ontario Librarians

Sign here: The OLA Should Oppose Staffless Libraries.

9.17.2016

fun with bag signs: in which i am photographed removing garbage from my neighbourhood

Are there bag signs where you live?

In Mississauga and perhaps most suburban places, people put up bag signs advertising services. The signs are cheap to buy and easy to post. They are also illegal. To me, they are the Nexus of Evil: advertising plus visual pollution plus polyethylene waste.

I have called 311 to complain about these signs in my neighbourhood, and if the City has someone available, they will sometimes dispatch a crew to remove the signs. Presumably this crew is also doing other outdoor maintenance, or perhaps they are driving around removing bag signs, which would be awesome.

Allan and I also remove these signs ourselves. When we lived in a house, we would throw the signs in the garage until enough had collected, then bundle up the vinyl for trash and the metal frames for recycling. Now, while we're out with our dogs, we'll just put the whole thing in a public trash barrel.

This morning while I was out with Diego, I slipped the vinyl off a bag sign, crumbled it up, and threw it in the trash. As I turned the corner, I noticed a car parked across the street, the driver removing something from the trunk. Then he walked towards me, carrying a sign.

Diego and I watched as he pushed the metal frame into the ground. I said, "You know that's illegal, right?"

Sign man said, "Are you a city councilor or a police?"

Me: "No, I'm a resident of this neighbourhood and you are polluting it."

Signman: "It is only for a few days, then I will come back and remove it." Ha!

Me: "That doesn't matter. It's illegal. As soon as you walk away, I'm going to remove it."

Signman: "You cannot do that. Only a city councilor or police can do that."

Me: "That's incorrect. I've called the City and they said it was fine to remove these any time."

Signman: "If you remove this sign, I will take your picture and I will sue you!"

Actual Photo of Me Throwing Out the Sign
Me: "Great! Excellent. I will give you my name and phone number right now. Let's exchange phone numbers and you can sue me."

Signman: "I don't want your name and number! I will take your picture!"

Now, I am not a lawyer, but I think it might be difficult to sue someone if you only have their photo, but not their name.

Me: "Ok, get ready." He backed up -- I assume because of Diego's presence -- and I stepped forward to slip the vinyl off the frame.

He took out his cell phone, and I smiled and posed with the crumpled sign. I normally hate being photographed, but this was fun.

As Diego and I walked away with the sign, Signman shouted after me, "See you in court!"

"See you there," I said. "Have a nice day!"

8.14.2016

fight for 15 and fairness: brampton forum for decent work

After our members returned to work, but while I was still on staycation, I attended a community event organized by labour activists in Peel Region. It was a beautifully planned event, with music and food and lots of opportunities for participation.

In Ontario, the Fight for $15 & Fairness
is focused on the Ontario Ministry of Labour's
Changing Workplaces Review.
Each of the three keynote speakers was brilliant and revelatory. First, Gurjeet Sran, an economist from York University, blasted through the myth that raising the minimum wage hurts the economy. (In fact, raising the minimum wage actually helps the economy.) Sran also spoke about the pressing need to raise the corporate tax rate. Even though most people in the room were familiar with these arguments, it's always good to brush up on facts and strengthen your knowledge.

Next, Monica Avero spoke about the fight for justice for workers at Toronto Pearson Airport. Avero is a Unifor member and belongs to the Toronto Airport Workers’ Council, an alliance of unionized and non-union airport workers. The conditions at Pearson -- Canada's largest workplace -- are nothing short of shocking. Minimum wage pay, constant on-call hours, inhumane shift scheduling, and no guarantee of hours are the norm. Wage theft abounds. Workers frequently sleep in the airport for a few hours in between shifts, not leaving the airport for days at a time in order to get more shifts.

If a worker can stick it out long enough to earn more than $13/hour, their contract is terminated. The work is either offered to someone else, or the same person can apply for the job at an even lower wage. Last year, hundreds of workers in the airport's refuelling, wheelchair assistance, and de-icing services were laid off and forced to reapply for jobs at much lower pay rates. At least 200 of these workers were never rehired. The previous year, parking attendants were targeted. Avero herself has been working at Pearson for 18 years; she still earns minimum wage. Welcome to the world of deregulation and privatization.

If the conditions at Pearson are shocking, the conditions for temp workers around Ontario are off the charts. Navi Aujla, a graduate student, followed in Barbara Ehrenreich's footsteps, working for temp agencies in the Toronto area. The agencies employ mainly new immigrants from racialized communities, and mostly women. As a rule, they pay less than minimum wage, expect round-the-clock availability, and are in constant violation of almost every clause in the Employment Standards Act. Many major companies use agency workers for the majority of their workforce. The agencies are completely unregulated, and what regulations there are, are not enforced.

After the main speakers, a member of the audience took the mic to talk about his situation. A Somali man, he was a successful lawyer in his home country. In Canada, his degree was not recognized (an extremely common situation), so he went back to school and became a qualified accountant. He sent his resume to 500 accounting firms and did not receive as much as a single phone call. Why would that be? His name is Abdullahi Barre, and this was in early 2002.

Barre took many different jobs, earning whatever wage he could. After many years, he found work as a parking attendant at Pearson Airport, and worked his way up to $14/hour. . . until everyone was fired and rehired at $11.25/hour. That's when he joined the Workers Action Centre and became active in working for change.

With the event just days after CUPE 1989's ratification vote, the organizers asked me to speak as well. It was exciting to report on a win, and to talk about how our strike energized and activated our members.

But the best part of the event, for me, was that two random 1989 members attended, on their own -- and one even spoke a bit, during the open mic portion. I don't know if either of these members had ever attended a union meeting before, and here they were at a community organizing event in Brampton. That might be the biggest win of all.

7.21.2016

from the front lines, day 18 (we have a deal!)

The Strike Is Over - We Have A Deal!

The Bargaining Team is very pleased to announce that we have reached a settlement!

This is a "tentative settlement," pending ratification by our members, then the Library Board, and Council. The Bargaining Team is very happy. We are proud of the contract we are bringing home, and we know it never could have been achieved without a strike.

Our members had the courage to use labour's most powerful tool and I believe they will feel it was worth it, both for the gains we've made on this contract, and for our future.

The ratification vote is scheduled for Monday, July 25.

7.20.2016

from the front lines, day 17

I am very pleased to announce that we had an encouraging afternoon at the table -- enough that we are meeting again tomorrow. So finally, something hopeful to report.

Maureen O'Reilly, President of 4948, TPL Workers Union, and Fred Hahn, President of CUPE Ontario, were instrumental in breaking the impasse and getting us back to the table. I am so grateful for their help! And even more so for how much I've learned from them.

Change of Plans

Tomorrow and Friday, we are only picketing at Central, and only from 8-12. It's supposed to be scorching, and none of us should be out for extended periods.

Members who need the afternoon or evening shift can make their way to our new union hall, where everyone can call councilors, Library Board members, and/or 311. You might want to come up with a script together, to make sure you're all on the same page.

A contingent of socialists from TO were supposed to come to the line tomorrow. (They have all visited our line and donated things over the course of the past three weeks, but this time were all coming together.) Because of the weather, I've asked them to hold off. If we're striking next week, they'll visit then.

More support from CUPE Ontario

Starting tomorrow, three CUPE members from different library locals will be booked off for a few days, drawing out support for 1989 and 2974, the Essex Library Workers. One person will be calling CUPE members asking them to: (1) call the City, (2) reach out to their own networks and get commitments from others to call, and (3) have their local make donations to both locals' strike fund.

Two other people will be organizing special events for both picket lines, to generate media and help boost morale. From our great day with the Dufferin-Bloor kids, which brought the CBC to Celebration Square, you can see how that works.

The organizers of this effort have included me in their plans, so I've been able to read over what they are saying, and give feedback about what works or doesn't work for us.

All this, and every time I thank them, they say, "No, thank YOU, ALL YOUR MEMBERS, for having the courage to fight."

Reports!

Erin Meadows

A Gentleman said that he used the library to prepare for his exams. Another guy said that he was a teenager using the library lab. A young lady said her mom had been picketing with us yesterday -- and her mom emailed the the Councilors. She took a flyer and said she'll also email, because she remembers going to the library for Summer Reading Club.

Another man wanted more details from us, about wages, and what we're asking for. It began as a negative conversation, but in the end, we encouraged him to email the politicians who can answer his questions about the City budget.

Overall, many people took flyers and promised to email or call.

Two of our Meadowvale customers came to Erin Meadows to see if it was open. They said this was "disgusting" and that they are disappointed with the Mayor and the City, because kids are stuck at home watching TV all day, instead of going to library, which they love and miss so much. They support us.

Another construction worker came with his 6-year-old son for swimming lessons. He told us he is disappointed because the library is closed. He said he would call Sue McFadden, Ward 10 Councilor.

What a wonderful afternoon we had! As a picket captain. I would like to thank the eight members of my team for their cooperation.

Port Credit

We had another very productive day at Port Credit. Managers left us alone, there was no sign of security, and even Shadow the puppy dozed off. We covered the park, the playground, and many businesses along Lakeshore Road, leaving pamphlets at businesses for their customers. There was a lot of support, with the exception of only a few. I think everyone was glad to see familiar faces. Port Credit Arena staff wished us good luck.

7.19.2016

from the front lines, day 16

Picketing Today

I received great reports from our members who said Good Morning at the executive garage. Picketing at Central in general is going very well. Don't forget to make leafletting and speaking to the public your top priority.

In addition, we hit two locations today: Meadowvale and Courtneypark.

Meadowvale

"Fun Times at Meadowvale today!

"The managers were playing Pokemon Go, as they tried to chase us around and find us. We could not stop laughing.

"We had so much fun as we split up and they couldn't keep track of us. They had to chase us around the mall sidewalks, the transit terminal and even the new branch. I wonder how they liked being out today. They even asked us where the other people went when they couldn't see us all ... but we wouldn't tell them.

"All in all we had a productive few hours, talking to many members of the public who showed support for us.

"Negative news: we did learn that we cannot distribute flyers at the transit terminals. I double checked the bylaws."
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(Thanks to Azmat for the photo.)

Also from Meadowvale:

"I was coming out of Shoppers when my manager hailed me and started chatting. She must have thought I was with the picket team today. I told her I had been at Central all morning. She said she was trying to round up the seven members of the team and appeared to be frustrated that she could not find any of you. I do not think Amy had fun today in the sun.

"I also spoke to a lot of people in Shoppers and Metro. So many people miss us. Truly heartwarming. So many said keep on fighting."

Courtneypark

"Thank you for giving us the opportunity to hand out flyers to customers and the public picking up their kids from summer school.

"We had a very successful morning and met quite a few of our regular customers who were very happy to see us. They were supportive and said that they missed us and would email the mayor.

"We were able to talk to the kids attending summer school at break time and explain why the library was not open. Many said that they could not get the books or resources they needed for summer school and took the flyers be able to email the mayor and councillors.

"Parents commented on how their children could not borrow books during the summer break and missed coming to the library."

A second report from Courtneypark:

"We were very successful at reaching out to our customers today at Courtneypark. Everyone did an amazing job interacting with the public.

"Students were extremely supportive and immediately posted our flyer on social media and some emailed the Mayor right away. They also told us that they missed us and needed our resources to help them with their assignments.

"Faithful customers coming for our programs were very upset to learn that all libraries were closed. They had to make other arrangements and find programs for their children to attend at last minute. One customer mentioned that he has been using our library for the last three years in order to complete his work license and he was horrified to learn how we are being treated by our employer.

"We received lots of support from our customers and hopefully they will pass along their thoughts and concerns to our Mayor and Councilors."

Mail from the Mayor

Many of you have received the generic form letter that Mayor Crombie's office sent out. 1989 members are expressing all the disgust, anger, and head-shaking I would expect. If you haven't gotten this letter yet, you soon will. Tone deaf is an understatement.

Calls to 311

I have heard from several people that calls to 311 are not being put through to the Mayor's office. This may be so, but I promise you that every call to 311 is logged, and every opinion is tallied. Every pro-strike message is being counted. We can -- we must -- continue to urge the public to call in support.

Support

From a former member:

"I just discovered the CUPE 1989 website last night & was so impressed with the reports, the outdoor storytimes (!) & it pulled at my heartstrings seeing those familiar faces amidst all the pink, looking confident & cheery for the cause. I feel I should be there picketing with you (which I would if I was anywhere near Miss. even for a day, which I'm not) but I would like to make a donation to the strike fund asap if you could tell me how please."

Teen Volunteer Hours

A Mississauga resident and CUPE member (different local) emailed asking if his teenage daughter can volunteer to work on the strike and earn volunteer hours. The answer is yes! If you know someone who might be interested, let me know.

Random Notes

Did you know CUPE 1989 has a YouTube channel? It's a fledgling effort so far. If you have videos of our strike, can you please upload them to Dropbox or elsewhere, and give me access? I will post them.

More than 80 "Dear Valued Employee" letters were returned to Library Director Rose Vespa today. Sorry, but our landlords don't accept form letters in lieu of rent.

To everyone who is working so hard on our strike, to everyone who is on the line, to everyone who has visited us, written letters on our behalf, called the City, brought us water, sent supportive emails, or honked their horns: thanks for being out there!

7.18.2016

from the front lines, day 15

Libraries Rock!

What can you say when 50 schoolkids march to your picket line holding signs they made to support us, chanting "Kids Say: "LIBRARIES ROCK!"??? What a day!

The Dufferin-Bloor Hub camp does one social justice lesson each summer, and this summer, that lesson was US! The kids learned about labour rights, a little about the labour movement, what a strike is, and so on. They made signs -- and were each given a free book -- and came out to Mississauga to support the striking library workers.

Also on hand were the executive of CUPE Locals 4948 (TPL Workers Union!), 416, 79, and 5180. They all brought us donations of money and water, along with their support on the line.

Fred Hahn, president of CUPE Ontario, and Yolanda McClean, CUPE National Diversity VP, arranged the whole day. When their storyteller fell through at the last minute, I told her, "Don't worry. We got this." And we sure did.

After a rousing rally, our programmers swung into action. We all took a break for the 75 pizzas CUPE Ontario had delivered, then back to more programs. With a special visitor: the CBC!

Many many thanks to: Hayley, Olivia, Jason, Fiona M, Emily, Maria C, Ylana, Fiorella, Natalie, Sumera, Abbey, Joan C, Helen, and Alene for their awesome programs - to Shane, Stella, Jayanti, and Chelsea for assisting - and especially to Kunwal to pulling the whole thing together. 1989 is one amazing team.

If you missed it, there will be lots of pics on Facebook and our website.

Media!

We had some great coverage today from CBC, both online ("Striking Mississauga Library Workers Say Some Wages Are Below Poverty Line") and on TV. (You should be able to find the video on our Facebook page.)

Almost all media coverage of our strike has been very favourable. And why not? Our demands are very modest and reasonable, and our working conditions are outrageous.

CUPE Ontario

CUPE Ontario, the political wing of our union, has already made a $5,000 donation to our strike fund, plus thrown us a big barbecue, plus today bought us pizza. But that's not all...

- We are receiving a gift of a cooling tent! It will be ours for four hours a day, so we can walk in and get misted to cool off!

- Fred Hahn and Candace Rennick are holding a telephone town hall this Wednesday night, to tell all CUPE locals in Canada to support the strikes. Two strikes have settled, two are still out (1989 and 2974 Essex Public Library), and several more are on the verge of striking. CUPE Ontario is making supporting us a high priority.

- Fred is heading up a working group to help us plan for the near future. We have been scrambling to bring special events to the line. This would map something out more long term. If we get a fair contract and no longer need the plan, all the better.

- Fred is also making a special pitch for us... not for public eyes yet. More soon, I hope!

We rock!

Today was an awesome day! I was so proud of all of us. Thank you all for standing up for yourselves and each other! And thanks to everyone who is reading this for all your support.

Celebration Square

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On The Line

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7.16.2016

from the front lines, day 13

We spent more time in the community this week, speaking to Mississauga residents about our cause, and giving the gift of free storytimes. Here are some reports.

Malton

"I had a customer tell me yesterday that he calls 3-1-1 everyday to find out when the library will be open. He asked what else he could do and I told him to continue to call everyday and also contact the emails and phone numbers on the flyer I gave him.

"Many people I spoke to are outraged by the strike and the way the City is treating us. I also talked to a mom and her daughter dropping other small children off at the pool and she was so surprised at how we are being treated and said that I really "shed a light on the true side of the city as an employer". She's always suggested to her daughter to try and get a job with the City, but is now second-guessing this choice. She said she's going to write to everyone and asked for a few extra flyers to spread the word for us.

"I think being at the branches has really made an impact. Of the two days we were at Malton, we had over 400 conversations with customers, many of which sent emails right away from their phones or took flyers/pictures of the email addresses on the flyers. These conversations can sometimes be difficult because you're not sure how someone will react but most are willing to listen and can feel the passion we have for our cause."

Meadowvale

"Just came back from Meadowvale Town Centre Metro. I asked a few people and the cashiers whether they are aware of our strike. They said NO. A few of them told me the Meadowvale branch is closed because they are moving to the community centre soon. They were not happy after hearing about the situation. They told me it's unbelievable. One cashier told me it's a great loss for the kids. She also told me she thought we were well-paid happy staff with smiles all the time. Another lady told me 'keep fighting'."

Port Credit

Storytime!

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7.15.2016

คาสิโนออนไลน์ แจกเครดิตฟรี 2019from the front lines, day 12

While Ribfest took over Celebration Square, CUPE 1989 members had another satisfying day in our communities. The managers that the City has assigned to "monitor" us (their word) and the special outside security detail came along for the ride. Because, you know, library workers are a big threat to public safety.

In our members' words and pictures, here is a bit of our day.

Erin Meadows

"I was at Erin Meadows Thursday afternoon. A customer came to return a book. He said he just came back from his vacation and he wasn't aware of the strike. When I explained our situation and gave him a flyer, he was really mad and told us he would send emails to the Mayor and Sue McFadden. He said: 'It's ridiculous, I can't believe City is treating part-time staff like this.' He also told us he will be supporting us throughout our fight. He is a customer at Erin Meadows and Meadowvale."

Frank McKechnie

"The Thursday picket at McKechnie went well. One customer was so upset with the city she called the Mayor right then and there. Of course once we heard that the City was refusing to budge in the talks, we got fired up even more and the flyers were passed out to customers fast and furious. I can't begin to tell you how angry that piece of news made me, but that is another story. I think it was great getting out to the branch and talking to our customers. It certainly seemed a lot quieter without the library open. ... This is a tough fight but we will be there for however long it takes."

Central

Most of Friday morning my striking buddies and I were on the mall side of the Ribfest and were handing out flyers. We heard some varied stories. We talked to a man who is part of the rotary and is a pastor. He mentioned he was the one that brought water bottles for the strikers. He is totally supportive. We also came across someone who said would call the city and say 'I would have emailed you, but my access to the internet at the library isn't currently available'. I thought that was a great line.

Mississauga Valley

"It was a very productive and enjoyable day. We met a family with two kids. One little girl rushed up to hug three of us. We were so touched by this, and obviously their parents were upset about the closure, but they supported us. We are like the usual front people, meeting with our customers. I agree with Rose that we are wonderful staff, and it is the staff who make library successful. However only she has a 7.3% increase."

Port Credit

"I absolutely loved talking to the public today at Port Credit. We spoke to small business owners. They are completely committed to helping the Library. We also approached people walking the streets. One lady from Australia, who always visits the library with her grandchildren at Port Credit when she visits, was disappointed this year. We also approached a group of young men (18ish); one pipes up and says "I called 311 yesterday". A page who was with us yesterday and felt uncomfortable approaching people was passing put leaflets and talking to customers - fantastic!!!"

Malton

"Our customers at Malton took our striking to heart. Here's some of the response from our regulars:

"One customer who is an author (our libraries carry copies of her books) said: 'This is stupid. Management is making so much money and you guys are doing all the work. I will email Bonnie!'

"Another customer, who is partially blind and comes to Malton every day to borrow the guitar books, said: 'It is very boring without the library. I really miss it and being in there.' He said he would email the Mayor.

"A female minister, who we help with printing, said: 'I can't believe this is happening. You people are always there for me when I need help, especially with printing my flyers and sermons. I miss it very much and some of your high school students were asking me why was the library not open, we wanted books to study for our summer school. I will definitely write to the Mayor.'

"One college student took a pile of flyers from me and said she would pass them around to all her friends. She said: 'We support you fully and love the library.'

"Another regular customer said: 'Management should be flexible and treat staff in a more humane way. This is really sad!' He comes to the library every day with his children to use the computers. He said: 'Poor people, the homeless and students needs the library!' He said in his former country he has nothing like the library. He said he will write to the Mayor!"

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Burnhamthorpe

About 20 of us covered the front doors and a highly visible intersection at the corner of Burnhamthorpe and Dixie. We had pink CUPE flags and three picket signs that indicated we work at the library. We handed out dozens of pink flyers and continuously urged people to contact the mayor. Several buses stop at that location, and everyone who got off was made aware of our cause, if he or she wasn't already. The overwhelming majority of those we encountered were highly supportive. Even three police cars honked! The best part, again, was how our group came together across all job classifications: full-timers, part-timers and pages. Twenty-year veterans and relative rookies.

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And in case you missed it, from Friday's Mississauga News:
Mississauga Library Workers' Union President Alleges City Pulling 'Nasty Tricks' During Strike

7.14.2016

from the front lines, day 11

On Thursday, striking Mississauga library workers visited various branches in the system to talk with members of the community. Here are some reports and pictures.

Clarkson

"Our group was quite small, but had a big impact. We saw many patrons that attend our programs regularly. Many were picking up children from camp and were happy and surprised to see us. All were very supportive. One lady took the letter and walked away, then came back to tell us how much she supported us and how wrong it was that our Library Director got a 7.3% raise along with what City Manager Janice Baker makes ($280,000/year).

"We even had two patrons that are both former employees show up to support us, and bring us a snack. One even went to Staples to photocopy more handouts for us!! This was amazing and we were so grateful since we had almost ran out of flyers by then. We are looking forward to seeing more patrons tomorrow!"

Mississauga Valley

"People in general were happy to see us. Most of customers took our flyers and stop to talk. We took turns walking around to the back of the building and also approached families around the splash pad. Our storytime - in both English and Spanish - went very well. It was a lot of fun."

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Port Credit

"A good day at Port Credit. We had a lady pull in with Timbits. She is so angry with the way we have been treated. I think she was also at Central on Wednesday with treats. She is a Lorne Park patron. She has emailed and called. It's nice to know we have someone on our side. We walked Lakeshore and engaged people; no one refused our flyer. One business owner taped it on his front window facing out for all to see.

"Customers were very supportive. Every person we talked to promised to email the mayor (they didn't even want to call 311). One man said he is a fellow union member and would email the Mayor as soon as he got home. Three mothers, each with three kids, were disgusted by how the library staff has been treated. They've been attending various programs at Port Credit and Lakeview and also promised to email the Mayor. One 7-year-old girl wanted to hear a story so we sat down on the grass, reading. I told her we'd be back tomorrow if she wants to hear more stories. (She asked her mother if they can come back.)

"I talked with around two dozen people today in Port Credit, and after I briefly explained some of the issues, every single one of them was on board with our cause and very supportive - even the ones who were initially hesitant. We also paid a visit to MPP and Ontario Finance Minister Charles Souza's office. He wasn't in, but we said our piece to his desk staff and left our flyer. They seemed supportive, too."

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Malton

"We had people stationed at both entrances and then rotated shifts of people walking the perimeter, going close to the transit hub, and splash pad. One of us tallied the number of meaningful conversations we had as we 'roved' - approximately 200 conversations in total!

"EVERY customer we spoke to was supportive and some sent emails while waiting for their kids to come out of programs. Malton Neighbourhood Services took flyers to give to LINC students who apparently are waiting every morning for the library to open. Malton Neighbourhood Services are supportive and are sending emails. They are also bringing flyers to the Malton United for Youth meeting this Tuesday."

Sheridan

"I went to Service Ontario in the Sheridan mall and got stopped by customers there. They all want to see is back at work, but are totally supportive of our fight. One daily customer told me her story of her precarious work at the shoe store. Not one customer yet has offered anything but support. Every conversation reminds me why I go to work every day and love my job - the public we serve!"

Erin Meadows

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Streetsville

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Support Library Workers!

Please sign our petition, and tell the City of Mississauga: Give your library workers a fair deal!

Bonnie Crombie, Mayor
905-896-5555
mayor@mississauga.ca

John Kovac, Library Board / Council
905-896-5400
john.kovac@mississauga.ca

Matt Mahoney, Library Board / Council
905-896-5800
matt.mahoney@mississauga.ca

For more information, contact Laura Kaminker, President, CUPE Local 1989, at 647-200-1481.