We're forming a union!

We, the dedicated workers of Howard County Library System, are forming a union with AFSCME to better promote learning and engagement across the community. We dearly hold the values expressed by HCLS: equity, diversity, inclusion, belonging, innovation, and education. We are a diverse staff serving many roles, each of which facilitates the smooth operation of a library system our community knows and loves.

Howard County Library System is a community asset whose staff provides high quality resources including a DIY Education Center to cultivate new skills, passport centers to simplify world traveling, Project Literacy to support adult and English language learner education, and much more. We find great joy in serving the diverse Howard County population and connecting them to resources that enable them to thrive, and we want to continue to successfully advocate for and support the public.

As the library moves forward with a new strategic plan, we strongly encourage executive leadership to recognize the importance of staff and our community. We are forming our union for:

A voice in decision-making and transparent communication
Library workers are the experts in branch needs and operations, and policies and practices must take that knowledge and experience into account. True inclusion will require open and transparent communication between executive leadership and staff about plans for the future of the library.

Fair wages and job protection
We are committed to building a workforce that is paid a living wage so that we can best serve our community without worrying about making ends meet. This will also allow us to recruit and retain diverse, highly-qualified staff.

Adequate staffing and equitable responsibilities
Staff members who hold the same role at different branches within HCLS should have similar workloads and responsibilities. Each branch must have sufficient staff to ensure continued operation.

Path to promotion and consistent hiring practices
Embrace transparency in the hiring process by posting each job opening prior to filling. Having opportunities for professional advancement and career paths will reduce employee turnover and improve services to the community.

Reasonable schedules and safe work environments
Staff well-being must be prioritized, with schedules and work environments that promote health and wellness. Workers deserve two days off in a week and workplaces free of hazards.

We also call on leadership to honor our legal right to organize a union without facing intimidation or coercion. We request that management not waste taxpayer resources on distributing anti-union propaganda, hiring anti-union lawyers, or holding mandatory anti-union meetings.

This union will benefit all HCLS employees, because it will offer staff at all levels a path to contribute their expertise, thoughts, needs, and ideas to the continued operation of the library. Our union will be an independent, accountable, and democratically-governed body, dedicated to the rights and well-being of all workers. We will champion the values of fairness, dignity, respect, and empathy for our community members and staff. We invite all HCLS staff to join our union, share your voice, and work together to advocate for ourselves and our community to improve our cherished library system in meaningful ways. Please join us!

In solidarity,

Want to get involved or have a question? Contact us at: hocolibraryworkersunited@gmail.com