March 12, 2008. Aurora, Illinois. Aurora Public Library.
Months of contract negotiations between the city’s library employees and the library over wages and insurance benefits are starting to reach a boiling point.
At an informational picket last weekend at the West Branch library, coinciding with a celebration of the branch’s 10th anniversary, dozens of unionized library employees waved handmade signs protesting the slow-moving negotiations....Library Director Eva Luckinbill, who is part of a five-person negotiation team working with the union, said that this weekend’s informational picket came as a surprise.
“We’re by no means at a stalemate,” she said.
Luckinbill called the negotiations a “balancing game” between fairly paying employees and working within budget constraints. The library receives its revenues from its share of the property tax, which is about 25 cents per $100 of equalized assessed value, Luckinbill said, and the levy hasn’t gone up in more than 10 years.
The contract negotiations are for three years, so the library also has to make sure it doesn’t make promises it can’t keep years from now, she said.
“We have no idea what the costs (for health insurance) will be in 2010,” Luckinbill said. “We cannot afford to put ourselves in a bind financially.”