Category Archives: Unions

Jefferson County (Colorado) Public Library Workers Make History

Workers of the Jefferson County Public Library (Colorado) made history a couple of months ago (March 2024) by becoming the first group to organize a union under the state’s new collective bargaining law for county employees. According to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), the workers voted to form a union with AFSCME Council 18. The 350 library workers won their union election on March 7 with 81% voting yes; the vote tally was 213-62. Read the rest

Recordings of Webinars Hosted by SSLW Committee Now Available

The ALA-APA Salaries and Status of Library Workers Committee hosted two discussions this month. The recordings are now available free of charge.

The first session, “What Comes after Unionization: Effective Engagement with Library Workers,” was held on May 8, 2024. A panel of experienced library leaders discussed ways to successfully engage with a unionized workforce. This event was designed for libraries that have unionized within the past five years and/or for libraries that appear to be heading towards unionization. The Read the rest

ALA-APA SSLW Committee to Host Two Webinars

ALA-APA SSLW Committee to Host Two Webinars on Unions

The ALA Allied Professional Association’s (ALA-APA) Salaries and Status of Library Workers (SSLW) committee invites you to join them for the following two sessions.

Empowering Library Workers: Navigating Unionization in Challenging Environments

May 1st, 1:30 – 3:00pm (Central) / 2:30 – 4:00pm (Eastern)

Register now. 

Library workers across the country are facing numerous external challenges involving funding and governance, the alarming rate of book challenges and successful bans, threats Read the rest

Unionizing Updates from AFL-CIO

The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) summarizations of workers’ wins include numerous examples of working people organizing, bargaining, and mobilizing for a better life. Here’s an update.

Shelf Life Books Becomes First Richmond, Virginia, Bookstore to Form a Union

Workers at a popular new and used bookstore in Richmond, Virginia, have officially joined United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 400. Shelf Life Books staff made history as the first unionized bookstore in the city, Read the rest

After Board Reversal, Workers Secure First-Ever Library Contract in Missouri

Reversing itself in the face of a public outcry and pushback from workers, the board of the Daniel Boone Regional Library system (Missouri) has voted to approve a collective bargaining agreement negotiated between the workers’ union and management. The vote, which took place late last month, means the ratification of the first-ever contract for library workers in Missouri.

The three-year agreement that finally won the board’s approval comes more than a year after the library workers voted overwhelmingly to unionize … Read the rest

Increased Union Activity Last Year

Unions continued to dominate headlines in 2023. According to Cornell University’s Labor Action Tracker workers staged over 1,000 actions (including strikes and/or protests) during 2023. What drove the increased activity? According to a recent article in U.S. News & World Report, many labor agreements were up for renewal in 2023, which is part of the equation. The article further explains, that “Workers felt empowered by other highly visible and successful strikes (or threats to strike) and a tight labor market… Read the rest

Newberry Library Employees Win First Contract a Year After Forming a Union

More than 60 employees of the Newberry Library, who formed their union, Newberry Workers United/AFSCME, one year ago, have overwhelmingly voted to ratify their first union contract. The four-year agreement includes a 15% increase in pay and a ratification bonus while freezing employee costs for health care. It also doubles parental leave, and it provides bilingual pay and funding for continuing education. Under their new contract, employees are eligible for reimbursement of up to $1,000 in education costs for anyone Read the rest

Biden Becomes First President to Walk a Strike Picket Line

President Joe Biden made history when he walked the picket line with members of the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) at General Motors’ Willow Run parts center near Detroit, Michigan last month. He is the first sitting U.S. president to join a labor union on strike. The United Auto Workers are striking against the big three auto companies — General Motors, Ford and Chrysler maker Stellantis. According to this report, President Biden Read the rest

Pickerington Public Library Workers Vote to Unionize

Staff at the Pickerington (Ohio) Public Library are organizing to form a union under the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT), a member organization within the AFL-CIO. The OFT represents nearly 20,000 active and retired public school teachers, charter school teachers, school support staff, higher education faculty and staff, library workers and social work professionals in Ohio.

On August 10, the Pickerington Public Library staff formally asked the library board of trustees to voluntarily recognize their union. By August Read the rest

St. Charles Public Library Workers Celebrate Recent Contract Win

Last month (September 2023), members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) union at the St. Charles Public Library in Illinois celebrated their first contract. It was ratified unanimously. 

Over the life of the four-year contract, they won: 

  • 17% wage increases across-the-board, with additional wage adjustments for six titles, 
  • A ratification bonus equal to 1% of their annual wages,
  • 4 weeks of paid vacation, plus 2 personal holidays that can be used at any time along
Read the rest