Sunday, November 30, 2008

Notes Toward the Union Year in Review.

Notes for a review of the role of labor unions in libraries, 2008. [work in progress]. Please send news to me for inclusion.

Union Review 2008

Kathleen de la Peña McCook.:THERE IS POWER IN A UNION-2007.Progressive Librarian no30 70-8 Wint 2007/2008.

Latham, J. M. "So Promising of Success": The Role of Local 88 in the Development of the Chicago Public Library, 1937-1952. Progressive Librarian no. 30 (Winter 2007/2008) p. 18-37.

Galanopoulos, Anita, "An Indomitable Spirit: The Eight Hundred of CUPE 391." Progressive Librarian 30 (Winter 2007/2008) p. 38-69.

The Union Difference for Library Workers, Salary Survey 2006. Progressive Librarian no. 31 (Summer 2008) p. 75-103.


Kathleen de la Peña McCook."WORKPLACE SPEECH IN LIBRARIES."Progressive Librarian no31 6-16 Summ 2008.

Recognition of the increasingly repressive 21[supst] century academic environment in the United States is important in the context of this CLA program on workplace speech. While we might think that all LIS faculty are proponents of workplace speech, it seems that some side with administrations without a second thought and thus against unions. Some who teach future librarians seem to assume all graduates will be administrators and exercise self-censorship as regards analysis of unionization.
Library educators who belong to the Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE) lost when it comes to debating issues about unionization on their discussion list -- a flaccid public sphere. ALISE has long had one central discussion list called JESSE. JESSE is moderated and censored. Last summer I had been writing about the Vancouver Public Library strike at the blog, Union Librarian. Over 800 library workers had been on strike for pay equity in Vancouver (Galanopoulos). A simple post to the discussion list about the strike was ruled unacceptable by the moderator of JESSE. Discussion off the JESSE list found a number of professors felt the censored nature of the JESSE list went against the values that ought to inform the teaching of librarianship. A habit of reflection would require that educators have the opportunity to carry on discussions in an uncensored fashion about issues that affect the profession.
How can students learn to stand for their public when professors will not stand for them? If the JESSE list moderator would not allow discussion of a strike of library workers in Vancouver, then we see that workplace speech is an issue that needs attention in the academy as well as the local library.
LIS educators must reflect on the nature of discourse in our own discipline if we are to be effective advocates for intellectual freedom. Additionally, LIS educators should consider themselves as part of the university community at large and take into consideration the American Association of University Professors 2007 report Freedom in the Classroom, which concludes:
We ought to learn from history that the vitality of institutions of higher learning has been damaged far more by efforts to correct abuses of freedom than by those alleged abuses. We ought to learn from history that education cannot possibly thrive in an atmosphere of state-encouraged suspicion and surveillance.
The adoption of the "Position Statement on Information Ethics in LIS Education" by ALISE is a step forward in guaranteeing that these issues, including workplace speech, will be addressed in programs of LIS education. I am most grateful to my colleagues here today who persisted in passage.


David Moberg “Obama and the Union Vote”
Election-night polling by Peter Hart for the AFL-CIO showed that 67 percent of union members voted for Obama. In These Times November 10, 2008.

By hefty margins, majorities of workers in Lake’s polls favored stronger government regulation of the economy, guaranteed health care, infrastructure spending to create jobs and reforms making it easier for workers to join unions.
Organized labor, vowing to hold the new Congress and administration accountable, will push for all those reforms. But reducing the barriers to union formation tops its agenda. And the polls indicate even deeper support for progressive reforms to help working people than support for Obama himself.
That suggests that the mandate for reform is even bigger than Obama’s personal mandate, and that Obama should push ambitious programs rather than tack to the political center-right to win popular support among workers—including those white working-class voters who may not have voted for him.

Slip-Sliding Away: Libraries, “Cool” Rebranding, and Public Purposes
John Buschman for the BCLA Conference, Richmond, BC
April 19, 2008.

May 7, 2008
"Guild Testimony before the House Subcommittee on Legislative Branch Appropriations." Click here for the full statement of J. Kent Dunlap, Chief Negotiator, May 7, 2008. (19 pages, pdf).

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