If recognized by the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library board, the union would be able to bargain collectively for wages, benefits and workplace conditions.
Since library CEO Linda Mielke took over in 2004, employees have lost overtime pay for Sunday work, annual 2 percent cost-of-living raises and health benefits for retirees.
But the library employees' list of grievances hinges mostly on work conditions. They include shifting the focus of the collection from scholarship to entertainment, replacing books with popular movies and replacing reference librarians with minimum-wage clerks...
National statistics suggest a union would mean better wages for librarians. An AFL-CIO union study found union librarians earned an average of 39 percent more than their nonunion counterparts in 2004. Nearly 35 percent of libraries employed at least some union members in 2004.
Library workers would join the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The union claims about 10,000 library employees among its 1.4 million members nationwide, including libraries in Hammond, Gary and Louisville, Ky.