Friday, May 15, 2009

King County library unions merge to form second-largest local in Council 2

SEVERAL YEARS AGO Local 1652-lm, King County Library Maintenance, had about 15 members who were the only union workers in the library system. The local has now merged with Local 1857, the King County library workers, and the resulting local is 970 members strong.

Local 1857 is now the second largest Council 2 local in the state.

The rapid growth in the local has its origin in 2002. It was then that 550 members of the library voted to join Council 2. At the time they became local 1857 and eventually bargained their first contract. Then, last year, 400 library pages voted to join Council 2.

Now the 550 members of local 1857 have merged with the pages as well as the original maintenance workers to become one big local 1857, putting it second only to the City of Spokane local, which has 1,100 members.

“Our eventual goal is to negotiate one contract for all of these library workers,” says Council 2 Director of Organizing Bill Keenan. “That is one of the benefits of merging them into one unit.”

In addition to the newly merged local, Council 2 represents the 83 supervisors, Local 1857-s, of the King County Library System. They recently joined Council 2 and now have a contract as well.

Keenan worked on the project to organize the library workers from the day it first started.

Assisted by a large group of dedicated and enthusiastic members of the organizing committees from the library system, he worked steadfastly to ensure the project’s ultimate success.

Almost all of the eligible employees at the library system are now members of Council 2.

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