City overturns library closures after union ruling
Toronto libraries will return to their regular schedule now that an arbitrator has ruled union members will have to be paid for the hours cut from their schedule.
City councillor Janet Davis confirmed to the Toronto Star Monday night that libraries will reopen on Sundays, starting Oct 28.
The city closed 16 branches down on Sundays, starting Sept. 9, hoping to save $400,000 in their strapped budget. However, after the arbitrator's ruling, it looks like the move hasn't saved the city much at all.
The library workers' union members argued the closures violated their collective agreement. They asked they be fully reimbursed for their lost wages and benefits but it was not clear what that amount would be.
"We will be in discussions with the union as soon as possible to come to some agreement," Davis told the Star.
This is the third cost-cutting measure Mayor David Miller has had to overturn.
First, programs at community centres were closed down on Monday but after a harsh backlash from the public, council unanimously voted to reverse the decision.
Then, Miller announced a plan to delay the opening of ice rinks until January. But on Friday, a corporate donation from MasterCard Canada ensured rinks will open on time this holiday season.
The city has been looking for ways to save money after councillors deferred a decision to implement a new tax package that would tack on an extra land transfer tax and vehicle registration fee for the public to pay. Toronto is facing a $575 million budget shortfall in 2008.
Councillors are expected to vote on the package on Monday.