Homewood library staff contract approved after nearly three years

After nearly three years, employees at the Homewood Public Library are now working under a contract.
 
The library’s board voted unanimously to ratify the agreement at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 21. Each board member put a signature on the document. Board member Jackoba Ward also thanked past members Cece Belue and Catherine Uecker for the time they put in to contract negotiations.
 
“We’re very happy,” said Sandy Sullivan, a librarian and vice chair of the employees bargaining committee. 

Staff will receive a 2 percent raise and have working hours restored. The contract extends to June 30, 2021, and covers 45 full- and part-time employees.
 
The staff moved to organize after their schedules were cut by two hours a week. Two employees lost four hours a week. Sullivan said every person signed a union card within a week after the organizing effort began.
 
The employees, represented by Local 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), had ratified the contract May 15 and anticipated the board would ratify the agreement that night, but the board said it had not received a copy of the signed agreement. The contract was not in hand until Aug. 7.
 
Cameron Day, union representative, said negotiations went on for two years, and even after the staff ratified the contract there were language issues to clear up, which is why the document was delayed.
 
He said future issues will be settled through arbitration, so he appreciates that both sides want the language to be correct in an effort to avoid conflicts. 
 
“We want to move forward for a positive relationship with management here,” he added.
 

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