Following nearly three months of negotiations, unionized library workers unanimously agreed to the University’s proposed contract earlier this month, said Karen McAninch, business agent for the library workers’ union, United Service and Allied Workers of Rhode Island.
The old contract expired Sept. 30 and was extended to allow for ongoing negotiations. The new contract is set to expire in September 2017 and includes changes that union members hope will lead to professional development and more unionized employees, McAninch said.
The digitization of the libraries has contributed to the decreasing number of unionized library workers, said Mark Baumer MA ’11, a Sciences Library guide and a member of the negotiating team.
As the library becomes “more and more web-based,” most employees hired to do technical work are not unionized, Baumer said. “We understand that some of the work we’ve done in the past no longer exists,” he said, adding that there is less need for catalog work, such as putting call numbers on books and entering them in a system.
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