Canceling the Gabrielle Roy Library reopening celebrations due to the

Canceling the Gabrielle Roy Library reopening celebrations due to the impending strike

Faced with an impending strike by municipal library employees, the City of Quebec has decided to cancel the celebrations surrounding the reopening of the Gabrielle Roy Library, which were scheduled to take place from the 1stum until March 3rd. This cancellation, which disappoints Mayor Marchand, will cost taxpayers $60,000.

The municipality announced this in a press release late Tuesday morning.

The 240 employees of the Canadian Institute of Quebec (ICQ), an organization responsible for managing Quebec's 26 libraries, rejected an “enhanced final offer” to renew their collective agreement on Sunday evening.

They will therefore be on indefinite general strike from Friday March 1st, the same day on which the celebrations should have started.

Organization impossible

“The announcement of an indefinite general strike sent by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) in the current context of labor negotiations between the Canadian Institute of Quebec and its employees makes it impossible to organize and hold the celebrations on time,” read we in the city's press release.

We add that “the situation does not allow the population to take full advantage of the organized activities and discover the Central Library.” The city is forced to cancel the celebrations in order to reopen them to the public.”

Last Tuesday, Quebec Mayor Bruno Marchand assured that the celebrations would take place regardless of whether there was a strike or not. At the time, he argued that “the inauguration must happen. “It's a colossal amount of work that has been done in this library (…) There may be pickets, but we can't go somewhere because there are pickets.”

On Tuesday, Mr Marchand said he was “disappointed” by the turn of events but did not believe he had been overly optimistic. “We will reopen on Thursday. The union and the Canadian Institute decided on Friday to use pressure measures. It disappoints me. You have the right. But it disappoints me because we are all working for the same goal: to put the library in the hands of citizens so they can see it. […] But I stand by what I told you. The opening takes place on Thursday. To make sure we can at least show it to the media and show the beauty of this place through you.”

Pledged $60,000

The original budget for the celebration was $300,000. From March 1st to 3rd, the population was invited to celebrate the reopening. Renowned artists and personalities – Tire le coyote, Marina Orsini, Ricardo Trogi and Vincent Vallières – should have been at the forefront.

“Currently, the estimated budgetary loss is one-fifth of the amounts allocated to program activities, approximately $60,000,” states the City of Quebec.

In addition, the Marchand administration will subsequently communicate with the population to inform them of the emergency measures that will be implemented in Quebec's libraries to limit the impact of the service outage on citizens.

Mr. Marchand noted that “we will not have the same resources” to continue the opening ceremonies at another time. No decision has been made in this regard.

— In collaboration with Stéphanie Martin

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