Creating National Library Worker Union

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Current union membership should not deter you from filling out this petition, we know that many library workers are currently represented by a union or employee association that maybe may not understand the scope of libraries and library issues that many of us face day to day. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of labor organization and collective solidarity for library workers who are too often left to their own devices to protect and advocate for themselves. A staggering number of library managers have put their staff members at risk and acted to censor or otherwise punish workers who have pushed back against unsafe labor practices. As our libraries begin to reopen and confront new challenges with an ever-changing public health crisis, we will need representation and protection more than ever. 

Library workers are being put at risk as the economy reopens during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have to balance our livelihood with our lives. We are in such a precarious position because we lack a strong national union. There are national organizations in the United States that represent libraries, but no union that represents library workers specifically and as a whole. We define library workers as anyone who works in or for libraries. 


The workplace response to COVID-19 has shown the importance of labor organization and collective solidarity for library workers who are too often left to their own devices to protect and advocate for themselves. A staggering number of library boards and directors have put their staff members at risk and acted to censor or otherwise punish workers who have pushed back against unsafe labor practices, with the unwavering support of managers who frequently act against staff best interest. As our libraries begin to reopen and confront new challenges with an ever-changing public health crisis, we will need labor advocacy more than ever. 


Library workers are frequently held hostage to the whims of municipal governments and are continually overworked and under-compensated for their roles within the community, providing early education and access to resources such as social services. For too long, we have been isolated from our peers on a national level due to cost-prohibitive national organizations and conferences, unable to come together to create new models of representation for all workers in the field.


The goal of this petition is to get a glimpse of the popularity of this idea. In order to create a union, we need buy-in from library workers and their existing unions. Current union membership should not deter you from filling out this petition; we know that many library workers are currently represented by non-library-specific unions or employee associations that may not understand the scope of libraries and the types of issues that many of us face day-to-day. We think it’s time to change that. 


We are stronger together.


Love and solidarity