Library workers at one central Ohio library system have strived for nearly a year to organize and form a union. Steadily inching ever closer to achieving their goal, they face one more hurdle — the election to determine if the Union has the right to exist.
Ohio Federation of Teachers President Melissa Cropper has worked closely with the workers in their efforts and is proud of what they have accomplished. In the latest AWF Union Podcast, Cropper discussed the organizing drive, the challenges the workers faced and the need for an election despite being the only library in Ohio yet to unionize.
Organizing library workers
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, library workers in the Worthington Public Library system realized the need to form a union. The 120 librarians and library workers wanted to elevate their voice and improve their work conditions.
In the midst of the pandemic, Cropper said employees faced shift reassignments and restructured workloads, which left employees working inconsistent shifts at various locations. These disruptions led to significant turnover, further stressing the employees who stayed in the system.
Nearly 70 percent of the employees signed union cards. Cropper said the library board refused to voluntarily recognize the union, and an election will be held in September.
For almost a year, the organizing team worked to convince their coworkers the union would improve their working situation. By leveraging a majority of workers in support of the Union, they have managed to fend off anti-union attacks. Cropper said coordinating employees proved difficult during a pandemic since face-to-face contact was limited.
The workers are in high spirits and believe they will prevail in the election. Since the election is not until September, Cropper is confident support for the Union and the momentum to organize will increase.
Ohio school funding
Cropper reminded listeners that the current system to fund Ohio’s public schools is unconstitutional. The system is slowly changing, however. Cropper applauded state representatives who added the Fair School Funding Plan into the two-year budget.