By GREGORY N. HEIRES
Through an organizing drive, Queens Library Guild Local 1321 has expanded its membership by more than 10 percent.
The local initiated the campaign in 2015 after a number of non-union staffers approached the local about joining.
“They thought they were being treated unfairly, and we were more than happy to fight for them to join the union,” Local 1321 President John Hyslop said.
“Though certain library employees are excluded from joining the local, we always found it strange that the library was employing so many,” Hyslop said. “We looked into this and decided there were a lot of workers who should be members.”
Associate General Counsel Steven Sykes and Assistant General Counsel Meaghean Murphy advised the Local 1321 organizing team how to go about recruiting the new members. The team also received advice from the DC 37 Organizing Dept.
Rather than going through an election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board, the local decided to gather signatures of the workers and then convince the library to agree to recognize them as union members. Hyslop and DC 37 Executive Director Henry Garrido spelled out DC 37’s position in a letter to Interim Director Bridget Quinn-Carey, but she rebuffed the union.
After Dennis M. Walcott was hired as president and CEO of the library in March, the organizing team approached the administration again. Walcott agreed to grant union recognition to the non-union workers.
All told, the Local 1321 team organized 99 new members, increasing the membership to 850. Besides Hyslop, the team included Margaret Gibson, executive vice president; Romay Ramdhan, vice president for clericals; Kyle Douglas, vice president for non-library professional and technical workers, and Thomas Wynn, vice president for blue-collar workers.
New members include information technology workers, librarians, secretaries and principal administrative associates.
The DC 37 Blog is an online publication of DC 37, AFSCME, which represents 125,000 municipal workers in New York City.