Striking library workers, board, to meet with mediator

Striking library workers in Essex County are heading back to mediation with the library board Friday.

Strike has closed library branches in Essex County for 20 days

Striking library workers rally outside the Essex County Library brach in Tecumseh on July 14, 2016. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

Striking library workers in Essex County were making some noise in front of the public library branch in Tecumseh on Thursday.

The 58 Canadian Union of Public Employee members were joined by their Ontario president and members of other unions as well as NDP MPP's Percy Hatfield and Lisa Gretzky.

The workers have been on strike for 20 days and the main stumbling block is a demand by the county that would cut sick time in half.

A mediator has called the two sides back to the bargaining table Friday and the head of the local bargaining union says she's optimistic they can move closer to an agreement.

"We've moved on a number of the issues," Lori Wightman said. "The ball is in their court. They have to come with some movement. It can't be just us because that's not negotiating. It's just [management] dictating and us falling in line and that's not going to happen."

Wightman said the strike has the most effect on people who use the libraries regularly. That includes those who rely on the computers to access the Internet and their email.

Talks resume at the Holiday Inn on Huron Church road Friday at 9 a.m.