Solidarity with CUPE 1989 in Mississauga

6 Jul

The librarians and archivists of the York University Faculty Association stand in solidarity with all our fellow library workers in CUPE 1989 in Mississauga who are now on strike, fighting against precarious labour and for fair pay and decent benefits.

Public libraries are important in Mississauga, in Toronto, in every city and town in Canada, and every worker in every library deserves, at minimum, a reasonable salary and a stable working environment. We call on Mayor Bonnie Crombie and the board of the Mississauga Library System to reach a fair settlement with CUPE 1989 immediately.


Statement on MUALA strike vote

16 Oct

We, the professional librarians and archivists at York University, are disappointed by the treatment the McMaster University Academic Librarians’ Association has received from McMaster in collective bargaining, and disheartened to learn our colleagues were forced to a strike vote, which passed unanimously last week.

McMaster University Library and its librarians and archivists have suffered for years. We wrote a letter in May 2009 about the firing of two librarians and then again in June 2011 about then university librarian Jeff Trzeciak’s bad management and grim plans:

In particular we express our grave concern over the recent downsizing of professional staff, the casualization of labour at McMaster University Library, and the recent comments from Jeff Trzeciak, the University Librarian, diminishing the value and future of librarians at McMaster. Such comments provide clear evidence of a highly uncollegial and unsupportive work environment. We have previously written indicating our distaste for the organizational restructuring that led to the creation of new positions quickly deemed irrelevant and the subsequent firing of two highly respected senior colleagues. As new and even more worrisome issues grow increasingly apparent, we are compelled to write again.

Soon after that, MUALA was formed and negotiated its first collective agreement. Jeff Trzeciak left McMaster, and we expected the situation to improve. It could hardly get worse. But it appears it has, and again we express our grave concern and again we are compelled to write.

The concessions demanded are outrageous:

The employer seeks to:

  • delete the requirement to use a Search Committee in the hiring process and the inclusion of members on the Committee
  • delete substantial portions of procedures and criteria associated with promotions and evaluations
  • delete the right not to do the work of other striking or locked-out employees
  • exclude contributions to MUALA as professional service
  • delete most MUALA rights to release time to engage in union activities
  • exclude work with external organizations as part of academic service

These are a full-out attack on the academic status, roles and responsibilities of librarians and archivists at McMaster. It is shocking that McMaster would seek these concessions, and an embarrassment to it as a university in Canada. McMaster diminishes itself in every way, every year, by its continuing attack on its own library.

We request that McMaster University drop its concessionary demands and resume bargaining in good faith with the aim of a fair and equitable settlement that respects the important role librarians and archivists play at McMaster.

William Denton and Patti Ryan
Union Stewards
On behalf of the librarian and archivist members of the York University Faculty Association

Team Harpy

17 Oct

We, the librarians and archivists of the Library Chapter of the York University Faculty Association, call on Joe Murphy to drop the $1.25 million lawsuit he has initiated against Lisa Rabey and our York University colleague, nina de jesus.  As librarians and archivists, we are committed to the principles of openness and constructive dialogue about the issue of sexual harassment in our profession, and believe that using the legal system to attack Rabey and de jesus serves only to circumvent those useful and necessary discussions and further silences victims of harassment.   We extend our support and solidarity to our colleagues, and call upon other librarians and thinking people to do the same, by donation, sharing information and/or signing the petition. More information on #teamharpy can be found at the Team Harpy web site and in the Team Harpy FAQ.

YUFA librarians will refrain from acquiring titles published by Edwin Mellen …

26 Feb

WHEREAS, Edwin Mellen Press continues to litigate against Dale Askey and McMaster University; and

WHEREAS, We understand such litigation to be an attack on freedom of expression; therefore be it

RESOLVED, That YUFA librarians will refrain from acquiring titles published by Edwin Mellen until such time as Edwin Mellen ceases its litigation; and be it further

RESOLVED, That YUFA librarians urge Kansas State University and McMaster University to defray in full Mr. Askey’s legal fees in recognition of their institutional obligation to protect the academic freedom of faculty and librarians.

Passed by the Library Chapter of the York University Faculty Association, 26 February 2013.

Dale Askey is being sued

8 Feb

Edwin Mellen Press is suing our colleague Dale Askey (associate university librarian at McMaster University in Hamilton) twice, once alone and once with McMaster itself, for comments he made on his blog in 2010 about the quality of Edwin Mellen publications.

Dale Askey said in an email interview that it was “my job to assess the quality of books, and I did so based on many years of experience in the field… As a qualified and experienced librarian, I was sharing a professional opinion for consumption by peers.”

Dale Askey has the freedom to comment on publishers and the quality of their publications. We librarians and archivists, members of the library chapter of the York University Faculty Association, fully support him in his exercise of academic freedom and freedom of speech.

Related links:

Who Speaks for Libraries and Librarians?

5 Feb

Lisa Sloniowski has posted the text of her talk at the CAUT Librarians Conference in Ottawa last October: Who Speaks for Libraries and Librarians?

Contested Terrain: Shaping the Future Academic Librarianship

19 Dec

Four York librarians were at the October 2012 CAUT Librarians conference, “Contested Terrain: Shaping the Future Academic Librarianship.” Lisa Sloniowski (with Jennifer Dekker from the University of Ottawa) gave a talk called “Who Speaks for Libraries + Librarians?” Three others attended and wrote conference reports: Mary Kandiuk, Marcia Salmon and Nick Ruest.