CLEVELAND — A Democratic presidential candidate is weighing in on a possible Cleveland Public Library strike.
On Wednesday, Bernie Sanders tweeted that workers need adequate staffing and that he supports their fight for a fair contract.
Public libraries are essential to our communities. The workers who provide these vital services deserve adequate staffing and safe working conditions. I'm proud to stand in solidarity with the members of @seiu1199wvkyoh as they fight for a fair contract. https://t.co/eMAe4VpNN9— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) January 23, 2020
According to a Baldwin Wallace poll released on Wednesday, Sanders is trailing Joe Biden in four key Midwestern states, including Ohio.
He is over 10 points behind Biden with 20.8% of Ohio Democratic voters saying Sanders would be their first choice if the primary were held today.
The union representing Cleveland Public Library employees announced Tuesday that a 10-day notice of intent to strike has been issued due to months of failed contract negotiations.
According to the union, SEIU District 1199, "months of negotiations with top executives have failed to yield a fair contract that respects the dignity of their work and supports the public services they provide." The union says library administrators have responded with a proposal to "outsource Cleveland jobs and make it more difficult for front line staff that is already stretched thin to provide valuable services and programs to the community."
The Cleveland Public Library has issued the following statement on the union's intent to strike:
"We have received the 10-day notice required by law from SEIU District 1199 that they intend to strike. If SEIU does indeed strike, we anticipate that it will begin at noon on Tuesday, February 4.
Unfortunately, an SEIU strike would directly impact our community. If SEIU does strike, the Library will temporarily close some branches and suspend some programs. The Library will try to maintain as many services as possible, especially meal programs and after school support for children across the city of Cleveland.
The Library will share updates regarding branch closures and service impacts via our website, social media platforms and the news.
We have made progress during our negotiations with SEIU over the past two months and have reached tentative agreement on all but five of the 27 articles. Our next negotiating session is set for January 23; and, both sides agreed to come back to the bargaining table on February 10 and February 11.
We urge SEIU to join us at the bargaining table to work together to avoid disruption of library-rich programs and services for our community."