CLEVELAND — In a nearly unanimous vote Wednesday night, Cleveland Public Library workers voted to give the authorization to strike if its bargaining committee can't reach an agreement with library officials on a new employment contract.
Nearly 400 Cleveland library workers have been without an employment contract since talks between the union and the library administration failed to produce a new agreement prior to the Jan. 1 deadline.
The bargaining committee of the Service Employee's International Union can issue a 10-day notice of intent to strike at anytime.
The committee has decided to reserve that decision until the conclusion of the next bargaining session on Jan. 17.
"While library staff members do not want to strike, the unwillingness of Library leaders to keep the public and employees safe may give them no other option," members of the union said.
The Cleveland Public Library released the following statement:
"Cleveland Public Library is aware that today’s strike vote by SEIU District 1199 was approved by its members.
As of tonight, we have not received an official notice to strike. Unfortunately, SEIU’s decision to strike would directly impact our community. If we do receive notice from SEIU that they will strike, the Library will have to temporarily close some branches and suspend some programs. The Library will ensure there are branches open in strategic areas of the city with library-rich programs and services. The Library will share updates regarding a potential strike and its impact via its website, its social media platforms and the news.
Despite this action by SEIU, the Library remains committed to negotiating in good faith at the bargaining table for a strong and sustainable future. 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."
RELATED: Nearly 400 Cleveland library workers are now without a contract, set to take strike vote on Jan. 8