IAM, Maryland Public Library Workers United Urges State Senate to Pass Library Workers’ Rights Bill

Mar 30, 2023 | Politics & Legislative News

The IAM, Maryland public library workers and their allies recently gathered at the Maryland State House in Annapolis to urge the state’s Senate Finance Committee members to move legislation giving public library workers the right to unionize.

Harford County Public Library workers Morgan Michael and Megan Baker called on legislators to pass H.B. 65, an IAM-led bipartisan bill that would give unorganized public library workers a fair, transparent, and consistent process to utilize their constitutional right to freedom of association by forming a union if they wish to do so. H.B. 65 passed with bipartisan support in the Maryland House of Delegates.

“To protect and preserve our libraries across the state, workers need a seat at their table, they need a voice in their room. We need to be regarded and respected as experts in our field alongside our administrators,“ said Michael. “The passage of H.B. 65 will do just that for the systems that need that right now, and the systems that need it in the future. I call on our senators to assist library workers and bring H.B 65 forward for a favorable vote.”

Other speakers included IAM National Political and Legislative Director Hasan Solomon, Maryland/District of Columbia AFL-CIO President Donna S. Edwards, and Metro Washington Labor Council President Dyana Forester.

“I don’t believe that leaving is the only option when it comes to improving my workplace,” said Baker. “Non-supervisory staff like us make up the majority of our library’s workforce, yet we have no say in the decisions and policies that affect us. This is why we want the ability to organize – so staff can have a seat at the table where our voice will be heard. Without us, it really is just a building with books.”

State Del. Steve Johnson proposed H.B. 65 to the Maryland General Assembly and took the podium to encourage the Senate to pass the bill, as the House did.

“We talk a lot down here about disparity gaps, about living wage, about bringing people up into the middle class,” said Johnson. “Well this is the way we do it–collective bargaining.”

After the press conference, Maryland Public Library Workers United lobbied state senators on the Finance Committee to pass the bill.

“Today, Maryland’s labor movement stands in solidarity to ensure we get legislation that will benefit working families in Maryland passed out of the Senate Finance Committee,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President David Sullivan. “There is nothing controversial about giving workers the freedom to choose to better their lives by having a voice in the workplace with a union. I urge members of the Senate Finance Committee to do right by the library and higher education workers in our great state.”


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