PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Carnegie Library employees across Pittsburgh launched a union organizing drive.
For the past year, about 50 Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh employees have been working as a committee to form a union.
It would be the United Library Workers, which is part of the United Steelworkers.
“We realized that we would be better off making those changes together than alone,” Briana Albright said.
“So, we are working with the steelworkers to make that happen.”
Albright is a Children’s Specialist at the Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and has been in the library system for the past five years.
She said it’s a challenge when they take concerns to the library’s administration.
“Despite having expertise, and knowledge to do our work, we are often left out of decisions at the library leadership level,” she told KDKA.
According to Albright, part-time employees have no healthcare, vacation, sick time or paid holidays.
“That’s about 40 percent of our public service staff, part-time, with no benefits,” she said.
“The flip side of that about 100 percent of managers and administrators are full-time and have those benefits,” she said.
In a written statement from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s Communications Manager Suzanne Thinnes said:
“We have not had any communication with the United Steelworkers, but we are aware of organizing activity taking place. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh greatly values our employees and we respect their legal rights. We believe in cultivating a workplace culture of mutual respect and inclusion. This is a big decision for the future of the Library and it is important for all staff to be engaged, invested and heard in this process.”
Albright said the library system didn’t say too much more than this to employees.
More than 350 workers across the 19 public branches and the library support center would be eligible for the union.
Monday night, the committee of 50 employees will be collecting authorization cards, which will work as yes votes.
Albright believes they have the support they need.
“Yes. I’m confident. Support is great. Everyone is really excited about this,” she eagerly told KDKA.
The meeting is in the USW building in downtown at 7 p.m.
Albright said if there are enough yes votes, they could have a union in place by the end of the summer.