Library Board meeting gets loud
Session on budget cuts interrupted by union organizers.
--- Brendan O'Shaughnessy
Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Board President Louis Mahern on Thursday threatened to clear a meeting room packed with employees chanting to be recognized as a union....
The conflict over union recognition provided the fireworks during a meeting to approve $25 million in bonds for cost overruns topping $40 million at the troubled Central Library expansion.... 50 library employees demonstrated inside and outside the Fountain Square Branch Library, interrupting the board meeting with chants of "Recognition now." The board has not recognized the employees' union effort, which now claims the support of 65 percent of 300 salaried employees.
While employees would bear the brunt of budget cuts, which include reducing the usual 2 percent raises by half and trimming spending on telephones, travel and training, the public won't be spared....
Library employees pushing for a union suggested their own cuts of about $1.2 million by trimmingthe costs of hiring temporary workers and consulting and legal services.
"Library employees want a voice in their future," said David Warrick, executive director of the local chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees union.
"Their efforts have been disrespected by this board. Now we are at the point where we don't ask, we demand notice and recognition."
Michael Torres, a library employee organizer, said confrontation was the next step because the board has not recognized a request to meet for several months.