Cleveland Public Library employees issue strike notice

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CLEVELAND (WJW)-- Cleveland Public Library employees issued a 10-day strike notice on Tuesday after months of negotiations.

SEIU District 1199 said the strike will begin at noon on Feb. 4 unless an agreement is reached. Union officials criticized library executives for receiving pay increases while 100 positions have been eliminated over the last 10 years. They said their primary concerns are staffing and safety.

“We have done everything we can to avoid going on strike, but enough is enough. We can no longer stand by while the executives of 'The People’s University' line their own pockets at the expense of the public," said Debbie Hajzak, an outreach and programming services project coordinator for the library.

"We are standing up for the work we do and for the service we provide to our community. We will not allow the Library to replace dedicated public servants with volunteers, outsource work, and continue to add executive positions while they keep front line and support staffing at a bare minimum at best."

A spokeswoman for the Cleveland Public Library said a strike temporarily close some branches and suspend certain programs. The library said it will try to maintain as many services as possible, including meal programs and after school support for children.

The next negotiation sessions is scheduled for Thursday.

"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," the library said in a statement.

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