All 98 branch libraries in Toronto are closed as negotiations have broken down between librarians and the city.
Toronto’s public libraries, one of the early areas of friction in Rob Ford’s drive to cut public spending, are now the scene of the first strike of the mayor’s 15-month-old administration.
The library walkout may not be the only labour disruption the city faces this month. The union that represents inside workers has scheduled a strike vote for Tuesday. City-run swimming pools, recreation centres, daycares and other municipal services could be affected as early as Saturday.
The library strike is the first since the amalgamation of the old Metro Toronto municipalities into a single city.
On his way to a meeting Sunday, the mayor was terse in comments to reporters about either labour development, saying only that he hoped for a settlement.
Mr. Ford was able last month to clinch a deal, that included a rollback on some job-security provisions, from the city’s outside workers. They were not in a position to command much public sympathy so soon after an unpopular 2009 strike that affected garbage pickups and parks maintenance.
The mayor’s bid to cut library costs, however, has already generated some backlash, especially after his brother, Councillor Doug Ford, mistakenly complained that there were more libraries than Tim Hortons in his ward and declared that he wouldn’t recognize Margaret Atwood if she passed him on the street.