Monday, March 06, 2006

John Berry to Speak at Interest Group for Libraries and Unions (IGLU)-Washington Library Association

Interest Group for Libraries and Unions (IGLU)
April 21, 2006 - WLA Conference, Tacoma

Workplace Rights at Risk

John Berry

John N. Berry III, Editor-in-Chief, Library Journal, and a lifelong advocate of libraries and the people who staff them, will address ways for making library workplaces worthy of the professional values they represent. He will discuss recent examples of workplace rights violations and the negative impact these violations can have on staff at all levels of the library.

1 comment:

Anonymous TPL employee said...

How ironic that the conference is being held in Tacoma this year and that unions will be discussed. The Director of Tacoma Public Library, Susan Odencrantz, just last week said in a negotiating session with the union that she was not there to negotiate.

Odencrantz is currently planning to reorganize the library system and will not talk to the union. Her plan is to remove all reference and children's staff from seven of the ten libraries in Tacoma. Children's services will be provided by school visits instead of having children's specialists present in the library. Reference will be provided via the telephone.

The union is limited in what they can negotiate because of course management has the "right to determine service levels". The question for negotiations regards seniority rights of the staff.

In order to provide justification for this major cut in services to seven branch libraries Odencrantz has used shoppers and surprise tests of the reference staff to show that they are not competent to answer the public's inquiries. The surprise tests were given at the busiest hour of the work week and in front of other staff and the public. A correct answer to a reference question was considered inaccurate unless the source used was the one the director wanted.

If staff members dare to disagree with Odencrantz they are browbeat and yelled at. It is a very hostile work environment in Tacoma.

The union is discussing filing unfair labor practices over this reorganization.

I hope that all union members will let Ms. Odencrantz know their feelings at WLA about this kind of anti-union activity and harrassment of library staff.