Thursday, August 20, 2009

Rockford To Cut 20% of Workers; Union Will Review.

The Rockford Public Library would close the Lewis Lemon Branch, lay off two dozen staffers and six management-level employees, and reduce hours at all libraries, under a reorganization proposal unanimously approved Monday....The union representing 86 librarians, librarian assistants, librarian interns, clerks and maintenance workers has 10 days to review the proposal and offer alternative solutions.
AFSCME 3350 President Karla Janssen:
"The children in Rockford will be affected dramatically. I feel safe saying that."

But the collective bargaining unit has 10 days to change that. Today's brainstorm session was closed to the public, but Janssen said all ideas are on the table, including reducing hours and generating revenue. And she's optimistic the group isn't wasting its time

"Hopefully we can minimize the effect. Whether we can save my job or not, I don't know, but certainly we want to minimize the effect to all of our members." See videdo interview here.

Board of trustees President John Brien said any ideas the union suggests will be considered, with a final vote during a special meeting this month. He said the service reductions and layoffs are tough, but necessary, decisions.
Union executives met Tuesday to brainstorm and they have two more meetings set this week. They're asking administrators for financial data, using their own research skills, and hoping to find a way not to lose any jobs.

What’s being cut are dedicated workers, many of whom have worked for the Rockford Public Library for more than a decade, union representative Jay Ferraro said.
The union represents 86 librarians, librarian assistants, clerks and maintenance workers. Nearly a quarter of the library staff would be lost because of the proposed cuts.Programs for children and adults are certain to suffer.

Union members will meet Friday night to talk about the potential cuts and continue to work on a counter proposal. Ferraro said union members are unhappy with the proposal to lay off library workers but have been kept in the dark for months about what cuts were going to be made and now at least have something to consider.

Community members have protested the cuts.

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