Category Archives: Unions

40th Anniversary of First-Ever Pay Equity Strike

It seems that we’ve heard of more worker strikes and calls for unionization in recent years. Employees are making the tough decision to band together and walk off the job to achieve change. The tactic appears to be working. Last week, workers at a Starbucks in Buffalo, New York, voted to unionize. Of the 235,000 Starbucks employees spread across nearly 9,000 U.S. stores, none (until now) have been members of a union. There has been a power shift. Read the rest

Historic Union Election Looming at Art Institute of Chicago

Employees of the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC) and the School of the Art Institute (SAIC) filed representation petitions with the National Labor Relations Board in Chicago. The filing will trigger an election in the coming weeks where employees can vote to officially form their union, Art Institute of Chicago Workers United (AICWU). Employees have asked the museum and school leadership to “remain neutral” as they embark upon the election process. They also asked them “to commit to a free Read the rest

Virginia Library Workers Push Back on Sunday Reopening, Demand Chance to Provide Input

Although some libraries never closed during the pandemic, those that did are slowly resuming services as they move to open fully. However, some employees are not thrilled about the possibility of resuming all services. Many are concerned about inadequate staffing levels that resulted from the pandemic. Here’s a case in point. Arlington Public Libraries’ (Virginia) management decided to resume Sunday hours at some of its branches on a limited basis in September. According to the American Federation of State, County, Read the rest

AFL-CIO Elects New, Diverse Leadership Team

The AFL-CIO elected Liz Shuler as President of the federation of 56 unions and 12.5 million members. The first woman to serve in this capacity, Shuler will function as part of the most diverse leadership team in AFL-CIO’s history. In a press release from AFL-CIO, Shuler says, “This is a moment for us to lead societal transformations—to leverage our power to bring women and people of color from the margins to the center—at work, in our unions and our economy, … Read the rest

Fears of Budget Cuts Drive Niles-Maine (IL) District Library Employees to Unionize

According to this article, board officers of the Niles-Maine (Illinois) District Library proposed significant cuts to library programs and services last month. The budget cuts have many library employees fearing for their jobs. As a result, library employees petitioned the Illinois Labor Relations Board to form a union. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31 will represent a bargaining unit of 88 library employees. Many elected and appointed officials and community leaders Read the rest

Worthington (OH) Libraries board won’t recognize union efforts

According to this article, the Worthington (Ohio) Libraries Board of Trustees voted last month to reject voluntary recognition of a union requested by library staff. As a result, the nearly-180 employees will decide by vote at a future date whether they will have a union. The heart of the matter is allowing library workers a voice, a platform to be heard and a more equitable workplace.Read the rest

Report: Sticking with the Union After Janus

An article that focuses on how the public sector union landscape has shifted with the Supreme Court Janus vs. AFSCME ruling is now available in full text.  

Kathleen de la Peña McCook. “Sticking with the Union After Janus.” Union Library Workers 2017-2018 Report by Elaine Harger and Kathleen de la Peña McCook” Progressive Librarian Vol. 47 Iss. 162 (2020) p. 139 ISSN: 1052-5736. Available at:

Related Items from Previous Articles in Library Worklife

  • From July 2018 issue of Library
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Cleveland Public Library Workers Give Union OK to Strike

In a nearly unanimous vote on January 8th, 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 its union — the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) 1199 — and the library administration failed to produce a new agreement before the January 1st deadline.

Significant points of Read the rest

Librarians Among University Staff on Strike Across UK

Over 40,000 librarians, lecturers, technicians and other staff went on strike, picketing 60 universities across the United Kingdom as of Monday, November 25, 2019, according to The Guardian. The strike was due to continue for eight days with the possibility of a second strike in the new year if demands are not met.

What’s the reason for the strike? The University and College Union (UCU) members and supporters complain that administrative salaries and benefits are exorbitant, while salaries of Read the rest

New Rule Proposed to Prevent Graduate Student Unions at Private Colleges

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) proposed a new rule that would take away the right to unionize from graduate teaching and research assistants at private colleges. 

The proposed rule, which was published last month, determines that students who are working for their institutions in “connection with their studies,” such as teaching and research, are not employees. 

If implemented, the regulations would reverse a 2016 ruling that gave graduate assistants at private universities collective bargaining rights. However, private colleges will Read the rest