Library Union Workers to Continue Picketing Friday
Staff Report, 07-26-2019

Amy Jo Walker pickets outside the Cuyahoga Falls Library with other members of the Professionals Guild of Ohio Council 3—the Cuyahoga Falls Library employee union—on July 16th.
Stephen Mulé
On Friday evening, union workers at the Cuyahoga Falls Library will continue their informational picketing over failed contract negotiations with the library administration. Negotiations began in October 2018 and have not borne fruit as yet. Union leaders contend that the library administration has spent more than the amount needed to support the raise the workers are asking for in 2019 and a portion of 2020 on negotiation expenses, such as the retaining of council, while a press release from the library argues that workers are already paid above average wages for the work they do.

“In preparation for negotiations,” the press release reads, “the Library compiled a comparison survey of wages paid by other area libraries. Cuyahoga Falls Library employees are consistently paid higher than the average wages of their counterparts in other area libraries. For example, the average minimum and maximum rates for the shelver position in comparable libraries are $8.52 and $10.77 respectively; while the current minimum and maximum rates paid by Cuyahoga Falls Library are $8.98 and $12.29 respectively.”

Union President Amy Jo Walker says “while our wage ranges are higher than other libraries in the area, almost all of our union staff is at the bottom of the range.” In an informational graphic provided via email, Walker showed that although the library lists the range of shelvers as being between $8.98 and $12.29 per hour, four current shelvers—with up to seven years of service—are paid just five cents more per hour than the minimum the library will pay in that position.

The union said it agrees with Library Director Valerie Kocin’s comment in the press release that “the Library has an obligation to be a good steward of the finances of the Library,” but that it doesn't “feel that they are being responsible with the library's finances when they have spent the amount of money they have . . . on negotiating this contract.”

Furthermore, Walker says, “in the last 3 years we have fewer employees and gained more responsibilities than ever. We feel we deserve to be compensated for our work.”

The library’s press release stated that it “submitted a fair and reasonable counter proposal for wage increases at a mediation session held on July 16, 2019, prior to the commencement of the informational picketing,” but it did not state what that proposal was. The union did not submit a counterproposal, according to the press release.

Members of the Professionals Guild of Ohio Council 3—the Cuyahoga Falls Library employee union—will engage in an informational picket on Friday, July 26th along 2nd St. in front of the library itself.

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