On April 19, 2016, union members addressed a committee meeting of the Hennepin County Comissioners about what's going on with our jobs at the library. Five people spoke and we had a an amazing turnout! Thanks so much for your support!
If you weren't able to make it, or if you had to leave before the open forum, you can watch a video of the speeches here:
One of the speakers, Lisa Daniels, got cut off by the three minute time limit, so we're posting her entire statement here.
Speech by Lisa Daniels to the Hennepin County Commissioners on April 19, 2016
Hello Commissioners. My name is Lisa Daniels. I am an LTA (Library Technical Assistant), OSIII (Office Specialist III) at Minneapolis Central Library. Thanks for allowing me to speak to you today.
The staffing strategy recently implemented by management at Hennepin County Library foisted new positions on library staff, removing some job classes entirely and along with the job class, the higher compensation level. There was no normal application process and no choice on the individual staff member’s part. In fact, the changes were announced to staff via a posting on Sharepoint in the middle of a busy workday. Supervisors asked staff to refrain from talking about or asking questions about the staffing strategy at upcoming staff meetings claiming that the questions were too personal to bring up at a large staff meeting and that the agenda for the staff meeting was already set so questions about the staffing strategy would not fit in to the staff meeting agenda.
On a personal level, Hennepin County Library’s staffing strategy eliminates my job class as an LTA/OSIII and promotes me and my colleagues to the Associate Librarian position. The staffing strategy also eliminates the Public Service Assistant (PSA) job class and promotes PSA’s into the OSII (Office Specialist II) position.
I love my job as an LTA. I love the physical nature of my duties and the variety of work I do both with the public, the circulation department and with the Help Desk. I also respect and admire the Librarians and the Associate Librarians who obtained degrees in order to perform the valuable work they do on the reference desk and with public programming and events.
Library management tells me that I should be thrilled about my new position as an Associate Librarian because my pay will increase. Library Management tells me that even though I have no reference training or ILS degree, I should not be concerned because I already know how to do much of what is expected of me as an Associate Librarian.
My feelings are this; I never wanted to become an Associate Librarian. I never interviewed or trained to become an Associate Librarian. I have worked for the library for 13 years. If I had wanted to become a librarian I would have followed the appropriate pathway of education to become one. The librarian career does not interest me because I like and enjoy the duties of the LTA/OSIII position.
Under the circumstances, if I do not feel comfortable in my new position as an Associate Librarian, Library Management assures me that I can demote to an OSII position. I cannot go back to the LTA/OSIII position because it no longer exists. Library Management admits that the OSII position which is the new job class that former PSAs will be promoted to, performs similar if not the same duties of the eliminated OSIII/LTA position. The difference being that the OSII position’s maximum compensation level is considerably less than the OSIII compensation level.
Therefore, I am left with a choice between performing a job that I am not interested in (nor do I feel qualified to do) or to return to the duties of a job I did and loved for over 10 years but with a compensation level that is considerably less than what I had before.
This is not to mention the empathy I feel for my co-workers who are going from PSAs to OSII’s, performing the tasks of an OSIII but not receiving the maximum compensation level. I also feel empathy for all of my colleagues in Library Science school who were hoping to get a chance to interview for the Associate Librarian position that I now have, without the proper education.
Thanks for listening.