Millennium Library workers to make up shifts lost due to whiteout parties

Workers at Winnipeg's largest library will be able to make up shifts lost due to the downtown street parties during Jets playoff games.

Union happy with city's willingness to work with employees, CUPE president says

Workers at the Millennium Library will be able to make up hours lost due to the whiteout street parties. (Darren Bernhardt/CBC)

Workers at Winnipeg's largest library will be able to make up shifts lost due to the downtown street parties during Jets playoff games.

More than a dozen long-term temporary employees at the Millennium Library were unable to work when the downtown library closed early for two outdoor whiteout parties during the ongoing Winnipeg Jets playoff run.

Canadian Union of Public Employees Local 500 president Gord Delbridge said during the first round of the playoffs, workers were "able to make up those hours," but that was not the case for the second round.

The City of Winnipeg followed all the rules of the workers' collective agreement, said Delbridge, so the union asked if hours could be made up on compassionate grounds.

Delbridge said Monday the union has since received a response from the city that says they will work with those who have lost hours — and continue to lose hours — to make them up.

"My understanding is there's going to be opportunity for them to come in earlier" if the library is closing early for the street parties, he said.

If workers are unable to come in earlier, the city will work with them to find another solution, Delbridge said. 

We also recognize there's some great economic spinoffs coming from the whiteout party, and we support that and think it's a great thing for our city.- Gord Delbridge

The library closes during the whiteout parties for security reasons, and the union supports the need to do so, he said.

"We also recognize there's some great economic spinoffs coming from the whiteout party, and we support that and think it's a great thing for our city. Many CUPE members are taking part in those festivities and this is just an unfortunate consequence."

The number of workers affected differs for each party, said Delbridge, but 13 workers' hours were cut during one party, and 17 were affected by another.

The whiteout parties during home games have attracted anywhere from 5,000 to 21,000 people as fans jam the streets for public outdoor viewing events near Bell MTS Place and the downtown library. 

Round 3 of the NHL playoffs are now in full skate, with the Winnipeg Jets taking on the Las Vegas Golden Knights. The Jets won Saturday's game 4-2, and play again at Bell MTS Place on Monday at 7 p.m. The library will close early.

A city spokesperson said in a statement last week that any adjustments to shifts or staffing levels resulting from the early closures are made in accordance with collective agreements, with an aim to minimize impact on staff.