Sunday, August 2, 2009

Springfield,IL -Layoffs at Lincoln Library-AFSCME 31 Speaks Out

“Metaphorically, the 10 layoffs are equivalent to taking a meat cleaver and amputating an arm or a leg of the library’s workforce, crippling our ability to provide basic service to the public,” said Bob Moore, an employee at Lincoln Library for 22 years. “Services will definitely suffer dramatically,” said Moore, who is not one of the 10 employees facing layoff.

Union representatives told Springfield aldermen and the mayor this week that 10 workers scheduled to be laid off at Lincoln Library are “not fat hiding in the budget.”
The city has told nine union employees and one non-union library worker that their last day at the library will be Aug. 6.
The council took several budget votes this week that saved the jobs of 67 police officers and firefighters who also had received layoff notices, but not those of the library employees.
Seven of the 10 employees are library assistants, one is a security guard and two are librarians, according to a list provided by the city. Eight work full-time, and two work part-time. Most are paid less than $40,000 a year....

Jeff Bigelow, regional director for American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 31, told aldermen it’s not a question about whether library services are important, but what will be done to save them.
“How can we come up with the money to save library services?
“We know that cutting back on the library, laying off nine more library workers is the wrong way,” Bigelow said.
AFSCME and other unions have provided dozens of suggestions they said would either generate revenue or save the city money. Davlin said a committee made up of union representatives and city management will meet to review those ideas and work on long-term budget fixes.
Roger Griffith, staff representative with AFSCME Council 31, said employees in the public works department are taking more than three unpaid furlough days in hopes of saving the jobs of their fellow co-workers.
“We’re still working with the administration to get those questions addressed as to whether that’s going to save the jobs or not,” he said.
Griffith said members of AFSCME Local 3738, which represents library employees, among others, have agreed to voluntarily take unpaid furlough days that will return more than $100,000 to the city’s coffers.

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