Toronto library workers are on strike after failing to reach a deal with the library board.

No branches will be open and workers will hit the pickets lines on Monday.

The strike results in the closure of 98 branches and affects approximately 2,300 workers.

Maureen O’Reilly, president of Local 4948, the Toronto Library Workers Union made the announcement.

"Despite our best attempts...negotiations have stalled," O'Reilly said. "We find that we are left with little choice but to take job action."

Negotiations were extended

Talks had continued Sunday afternoon between the Toronto Public Library and its union representing library workers, in the hopes of avoiding the strike.

Both sides were in negotiations overnight and into Sunday afternoon, agreeing to extend the deadline that had been set at midnight. However, spokesman for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), Cim Nunn, told CBC News he was not optimistic.

Services suspended

The TPL announced a list of what will be affected during the strike.

  • All library branches are closed, and bookmobile and home library services are suspended.
  • No fines will be charged during the labour disruption on overdue library materials.
  • All book drops are closed.
  • All scheduled meetings and events are cancelled during the labour disruption.
  • Room rental charges will be refunded.
  • Most website services are available during the labour disruption.

"It does not appear the employer has moved very far from their approach throughout the bargaining process, and that does not suggest they are interested in reaching a deal."

Parties ended their discussions at 12:01 a.m., changing the deadline to 3 a.m. Eventually the deadline was pushed back to noon, and again to 5 p.m.

"We do not want a labour disruption — that is a very last resort," Nunn said earlier Sunday. "We're interested in reaching a bargained conclusion to these negotiations. That's what we want. That's what everybody needs."

The library is asking borrowers to not try and return books and materials for the duration of the strike, adding that no overdue fines will be charged.

CUPE Local 4948 represents more than 2,300 Toronto Public Library workers. About half of those workers are part-time, and about three-quarters are women.

The workers accuse the Library Board of making unfair and impractical promises to the city this year regarding budget cuts.

Local 79 to hold strike vote

The past few months have seen tensions rise between the city and its workers, with several contracts on the line.

Some 23,000 inside workers could walk off the job next weekend unless a deal is reached.

The inside workers' union, CUPE Local 79, has accused the city of bargaining in bad faith and filed a complaint with the Ontario Labour Relations Board.

Last month, the city's outside workers ratified a four-year agreement that included wage increases but clawed back job security.

With files from the Canadian Press