HoCo Library Workers United union would represent over 150 library workers throughout Howard County, Maryland

Howard County – Citing a need for a voice in the decision making process, more transparent communication, fair wages, more job protection, reasonable schedules, adequate staffing, and health and safety concerns, Howard County Library System workers are forming a union across all seven work locations, with AFSCME Maryland Council 3.

Organizing efforts began after a group of employees met last year following sweeping job duty restructuring. The employees met to discuss the challenges within the library system. After realizing the library system’s administration had done little to address staff’s longstanding concerns over transparency, staff support, and safety, workers decided it was time to take action and unionize. Their goals are outlined in their organizing committee letter, signed by nearly 80 HCLS employees.

“Right now, I can’t be as effective as I would like to be in my job because I can’t go out as often in the community due to short staffing. I really want to unionize so I can go to more school visits and meet teens outside of the branch. I look forward to the day where going out in the community doesn’t put strain on staffing needs in the branch.” – Caitlin Felder, Teen Instructor & Research Specialist

“As much as I love my job, I also love spending time with my friends and family. Two days off a week, every week, is something all of us really need to recharge and give attention to the other things that we find important in life. Many of my coworkers often work 7 days in a row with no time off.” – Sara Bailey, Children’s Instructor & Research Specialist

“I love forging lifelong relationships with the community. Some of the kids we’ve taught have become my colleagues in the workplace, and it makes me so proud seeing how far they come, and how far they’ll go. By unionizing, I can advocate for the resources I need to continue to do what I enjoy.” – Kyleigh Jimenez, Children’s Instructor & Research Specialist

“The library is one of the few places where all ages can gather, learn, and thrive through our free spaces, services, classes and resources. Unionizing will allow staff to contribute ideas to planning and resource allocation to ensure community needs are met and exceeded.” – Cherise Tasker, Instructor & Research Specialist

“I want to be heard, I want to be seen. I want to have a voice in making the library more inclusive and accessible for us immigrants.” – Gabriela Perez, Customer Service Specialist

“I have ALWAYS wanted to be a part of the library’s rich legacy of serving THIS community. I grew up here and to see the ways I can have a direct and positive impact on our county’s bright future… that gives me hope. By forming a union, we will be able to grow our impact and continue to build on HCLS’s legacy.” – Chris Heady, STEAM Mobile Unit Driver & Instruction Assistant

For updates on the HoCo Library Workers United campaign, follow @hocolibrarywu on Facebook and @hoco_library_workers_united on Instagram. To sign their community support letter, visit the HoCo Library Workers United website.

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HoCo Library Workers United is made up of staff from across the Howard County Library System who are organizing a union to improve our workplaces and our ability to serve our communities.

AFSCME Maryland Council 3 represents nearly 45,000 public service workers who work in local, city, county, and state government, as well as in higher education and the private sector, who provide the valuable public services that our communities rely on. From Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore, we make Maryland happen.