Library union complains about adding full-time jobs

On the library-union homepage that doesn’t have permanent links or even defined postings, Mo et al. carefully read the library budget. (It passed. TPL got its 2.1% increase. So I don’t know why we’re complaining, but that is a union’s purpose, I guess; see below.) Excerpts:

  • The budget as submitted from the Library Board included a reduction of 6.9 FTEs in the page classification as an “efficiency expenditure reduction.” The budget also included the creation of five permanent FTEs in E‑Services (previously grant-funded).

  • Youth Hub expansion (2 FTEs new)

  • Malvern Digital Innovation Hub (1 FTE new)

Overall, this netted out to a 1.1 FTE increase to the compl[e]ment.

Stated more accurately, the library eliminated 6.9 low-skill, precarious, underpaid page jobs in favour of eight proper full-time career positions. This is a win, not a loss. (The same posting critiques budgetary “sleight-of-hand” by “the Tory administration.” Calling eight new jobs “1.1” jobs is just as bad.)

Then we have this gem:

This will put an enormous pressure on the library to fund future Sunday service and pressure at the bargaining table to find a solution.

How, exactly? The library submits budgets one year at a time and saw its budget increased the last two years. Adding new Sunday hours amounted to a fraction of this year’s 2.1% increase. So where’s the “enormous pressure”? Could it be a figment of Mo’s imagination, i.e., fearmongering?

The library’s labour force is too small for the amount of work involved. Let’s hire more people full-time and pay them well. Let’s! But, while I expect any union to exaggerate, why does the union feel the need to fudge numbers? Its position is already strong.

I told you John Tory was not a library supporter

Local 4948 (sic):


Yeah, I told you that already.

I don’t suppose Mo realizes her union homepage has been hijacked

If one links from Mo’s Local 4948 page to Our Public Library, JavaScript on that latter page hijacks your browser. (Links elided here for obvious reasons.) Actually, it pretends to be “[c]hecking your browser.”

Then you’re hijacked completely and you, the “Chrome” user operating Safari, are induced to fill out a short survey that is actually a scam.

Dear Chrome user, You are today’s lucky visitor

(You lucky vistor, you!)

These are the same people who run a blog without permalinks, still claim in their RSS feed that the library is under threat of privatization (it isn’t), and publish YouTube videos with semi-secret URLs. Also, a pro tip that 4948 should have learned 15 years ago: Don’t make links open in new windows.

Oh, no, Mo

Maureen O’Reilly writes a thin, tendentious piece for an allegedly-peer-reviewed journal.

The few attempts the Ford administration has made to formulate public policy here in Toronto have been imitative of Chicago, where the Ford brothers… have a second, and very lucrative, division of their Toronto-based Deco Labels and Tags company. The only economic development trip that the mayor has taken was to Chicago. Chicago has 79 libraries, so Toronto should too. This seems to be the simplistic rationale for targeting the highly successful TPL for cuts.

Dude. You can’t be serious.

This mindset turnaround was aided by the appearance of a report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, “The Great Equalizer: A Case for Reinvesting in TPL.” [L]ibrary workers will continue the campaign for the 2013–2014 budget cycle with this theme. We intend to launch a whole new phase this September.

That gives you two months to start answering my mail, Mo.

Basically, I agree with Sue-Ann Levy on a single point

For better or worse, I have to concur with the only conservative married lesbian columnist in existence, Sue-Ann Levy, when she observed that Maureen O’Reilly is engaged in serious hyperbole about “privatization” of the library. (Marcus Gee made a similar point.)

I am not even sure what privatization means in this context. Floaters are already privatized, and that isn’t working out great. I assume the fear is that every aspect of collections and cataloguing would be “outsourced” to that American firm I’m not going to bother looking up. Even staunch Conservatives (note the majuscule), who dearly wish they were American, can understand how an American company is unlikely to do a better job stocking the Toronto Public Library than Torontonians do. It seems like a non-starter.

I oppose advertising in the library. Advertising is advertising (QED), not sale of public assets to private interests.

Moreover, I don’t see any rational prospect of branch closures under this Board. I don’t trust these fuckers as far as I can throw them, but they aren’t that stupid. Paul Ainslie has already decided that, no matter what the facts are, some library branches are “underused,” hence their hours should be cut back. I promise you he will try to push that through. I bill myself as a scabrous, uncompromising defender of the Toronto Public Library, yet I just do not see an outcome where any branch ends up closed.

What about job security?

I don’t see how otherwise intelligent union executives and columnists are unclear as to why the Ford administration wants to reduce job security. Because they can. Because conservatives (note the minuscule) believe in a race to the bottom. (Progressive Conservatives might not have believed that. City government is not run by Progressive Conservatives.) Employees by definition should not have “job security,” conservatives believe, invariably lashing out like wounded animals by claiming they never had it before, so why should anybody else?

Two days into the strike, I begin to wonder about the solidity of the principle on which it is based.