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Wellesley Librarians Want New Contract

The librarians will meet with town officials Tuesday.

Credit: Wellesley Free Library Staff Association
Credit: Wellesley Free Library Staff Association
The following is from the Wellesley Free Library Staff Association

The Wellesley Free Library Staff Association (WFLSA), an unaffiliated association that represents the employees at the Town’s main library and its two branches, announced today (March 9) the beginning of its campaign to seek public support following the Town’s rejection of the recommendation a fact-finder in the parties’ ongoing contract dispute. Employees at the library have been working without a contract since July 2011.

The Fact-finder, who was appointed by the Massachusetts Department of Labor Relations, held a fact-finding hearing in December and issued her report on January 22, 2014. The report was initially under seal, but is now available to the public. The non-binding recommendation is intended to provide “a fair and reasonable settlement of the outstanding issues in light of the evidence” before the Fact-finder. The Association has agreed to the compromise recommended by the Fact-Finder, while the Town has continued to seek further concessions. To receive a copy of the fact-finder’s recommendations visit wflsa.wordpress.com.

Marian Ossman, President of the Staff Association explains that “The critical issue in the three year dispute has been the treatment of long-term part-time employees, who are paid less than their colleagues despite performing the same work with the same qualifications.” She notes further that, with hourly wages as low as $13.40, Wellesley Free Library’s part-time employees, including Adult and Children’s Reference Librarians, are paid far less than their colleagues working in the same positions at comparable communities according to the annual survey of library wages by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and do not receive regular pay increases despite their long time employment at the Library.

In February 2012, in an election held by the State Department of Labor Relations, the part-time employees voted overwhelmingly to be represented by the Association. The Town has demanded that even limited increases in pay for part-time employees be offset by reductions in wages and benefits for full-time employees. While the Association has been willing to accept a lower increase in wages than that offered to employees in other Town Departments in order to help cover the additional costs of raising these bottom wages, it has rejected the Town’s further proposal to cut pay and benefits for full-time employees.

The Association is asking Town residents and library patrons for their support this effort through calls to the elected Library Trustees and the Town’s Executive Director encouraging the Town to resolve this dispute and accept the fact-finder’s recommendations and resolve this dispute.

The parties are scheduled for additional mediation with a state-appointed mediator on March 18, 2014.

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