Sunday, February 25, 2007

9 Unions in Minneapolis & Hennepin County Library Systems Face Merger Issues

Southwest Journal writes:

More than three decades ago, local legislators introduced a bill in the Minnesota Legislature that called for merging the Minneapolis and Hennepin County library systems.

The idea had been agreed upon several years earlier by both sides, but the Minneapolis Public Library Board went on record in 1971 opposing the bill. Members argued there was no guarantee Minneapolis would be represented on a new board appointed by Hennepin County Commissioners, and the legislation died in committee.

Fast forward more than 35 years, and discussions about consolidating the two systems are once again well under way. This time, though, officials with the Minneapolis Public Library system and the city aren't opposed to the concept. Facing a financial crisis that has already prompted the indefinite closure of threelibraries , members of the Minneapolis Public Library Board are looking long and hard at solutions that will achieve long-term financial solvency for the city's system....
This broad framework doesn't address a number of critical issues, such as what will happen to the three libraries currently closed in Minneapolis or how library employees represented by a total of nine different unions will be rolled into one system. It's also unclear whether the operating hours of Minneapolislibraries will be expanded to more closely match those of Hennepin County libraries , most of which are open more than eight hours a day, six days a week if a merger moves forward. City and county staff, attorneys, finance officers,union leaders and others would work out the remaining details.

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