Monday, September 10, 2007

Susan Veltfort Wins Mother Jones Award

Al Link, Secretary-Treasurer of WSLC
Susan Veltfort
Lori Province Staff Liason of WSLC
Rick Bender, President of WSLC

Librarian Susan Veltfort of AFSCME Local 1857 (the King County Library System (Washington) employees was presented the individual Mother Jones Award by the Washington State Labor Council (WSLC) on August 16, 2007. Ms.Veltfort is the first librarian to win this award, given by the state's AFL-CIO affiliate, representing 400,000 unionized workers in Washington
"Susan Veltfort of AFSCME Local 1857 was one of the prime movers in organizing Washington State's largest public library system--the King County Library System--in 2003. Several past organizing drives had failed in the system, whose management was virulently opposed to unionization.

Susan was on the negotiations committee when Local 1857 negotiated the King County Library System's first-ever labor agreement in 2004. Soon afterward the library management delivered a shock: A wrong-headed staffing model called "clustering" which forced many employees to rotate among several worksites each week. Susan, now president of Local 1857, was a key player in helping to organize a no-confidence vote among members in which 92% registered no confidence in the library director. The vote generated media attention which brought management to the table, where it has since made major concessions on the issue.

Susan is also a founding member of IGLU, the Interest Group for Libraries and Unions, within the Washington Library Association, the state's primary organization for library workers. IGLU's purpose: *To explore the extent of the presence and role of unions among library workers in Washington State. *To encourage ongoing research on unionization in libraries. *To serve as a resource for both active and developing unions of library workers in Washington State.

Susan Veltfort's courage and dedication to library workers both within her own system and statewide make her a fitting nominee for a Mother Jones Award."

The Mother Jones award is given in honor of Mary Harris "Mother" Jones,
organizer for the United Mine Workers of America, who said we must "pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living." Susan's advocacy for her library colleagues make her well deserving of the award.

--nominated by:
Cameron A. Johnson, President
AFSCME Local 113
City of Everett, Washington Employees

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