Library staff join Council 2by County and City Employee writer on December 28, 2012
FIFTY-FIVE EMPLOYEES of the Fort Vancouver Regional Library have joined Council 2. The group includes librarians and supervisors, confirming a growing trend in Council 2 for managers to be included in union contracts.
The employees were prompted to join a union after noting that other library employees who were unionized had a voice in their conditions of employment.
“They felt that they did not have such a voice,” explains Council 2 Director of Organizing Bill Keenan. “They saw the benefit of being represented, having a contract and bargaining for changes in their working conditions.
“So they set out to join a union. After investigating a number of unions, they chose Council 2 as the one they would like to join.”
The employees were prompted to work quickly and organize as a local union while an interim library director was in office. In this way, when the permanent director took office the union would already be in place.
“As it turned out, the library administration hired a new director from Utah, who came on board several weeks before the election,” Keenan says.
“The director issued a letter, urging the employees to vote ‘no’ in the election. As a result, the ‘yes’ vote received 66 percent support rather than the 60 percent we had been expecting.”
The employees, who are organized under a new local, 307-L, have approved a constitution, have elected their officers and have formed a contract committee. They will work with a Staff Representative to prepare their first proposal to start bargaining with the library administration.