Monday, February 06, 2006

Tompkins County Public Library.UAW 2300.Library union not to blame

Back Article published Feb 4, 2006
Library union not to blame
UAW Local 2300 represents the librarians and support staff working at the Tompkins County Public Library. We wish to set the record straight about workers' wages.

The Library was always closed on Sundays and summer Saturdays before the library administration sought to add more public hours. Our workers negotiated for time-and-a-half pay on Sundays because they were losing family time and the library remained short-staffed. Time-and-a-half was similarly won for summer Saturdays, but only after a New York State arbitrator penalized the library for violating the contract and refusing to negotiate.

If the public somehow believes that our union workers earn too much, why is no one asking about the director's salary ($84,152 in 2004), which is significantly more than those of many county managers? What about the huge annual bonuses awarded to the director and assistant director (totaling $20,050 in 1999-2001)? Why do they spend thousands in legal and miscellaneous fees ($45,400 in 2004)? Why do they hire an expensive lawyer to negotiate the labor contracts, when traditionally the library trustees have always negotiated these themselves? Why pay a private company to water and maintain the plants?

The library administration often reaps the public accolades, but it is our workers who truly make the library what it is. They are the people who work with the public everyday.

Terry Sharpe


UAW Local 2300


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