Newberry Library workers vote to unionize

By a 35-11 vote, the employees agreed to affiliate with Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

SHARE Newberry Library workers vote to unionize
The Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton St.

The Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton St.

Pat Nabong/Sun-Times file

Employees at Chicago’s Newberry Library have overwhelmingly voted to unionize, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees said Wednesday.

The union said library employees voted 35-11 to affiliate with AFSCME’s Council 31. The National Labor Relations Board supervised the election.

Anders Lindall, spokesman for Council 31, said the bargaining unit will represent more than 60 workers, including conservators, librarians, library assistants, program coordinators and program assistants.

The employees went public with their organizing drive in August, citing concerns about wages, working conditions and “a lack of transparent decision-making” about issues such as layoffs during the pandemic.

The Newberry, 60 W. Walton St., is an independent research library that has operated since 1887.

The Newberry issued a statement from President Daniel Greene, who said, “We encouraged all eligible staff to vote in order to ensure their voices were heard in this election. Following the result of the election, the Newberry will bargain in good faith with the union over the terms and conditions of employment.”

AFSCME has been busy organizing workers at Chicago’s cultural institutions. It represents workers at the Art Institute of Chicago and its school and is seeking to represent non-tenure-track faculty at the school. Lindall said the faculty will vote in an election by mail, with ballots due to the NLRB by Dec. 9.

Workers at the Field Museum also have announced an organizing campaign with AFSCME.

The Latest
The 9-month-old girl was shot late Tuesday night in the first block of East Garfield Boulevard, police said.
U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall denied a request for mistrial over a remark about the ‘Chicago way of doing business’ being ‘very corrupt.’ That allowed prosecutors to proceed with recordings of Burke and witness testimony.
On an episode of ‘New Heights’ hosted by the Kelce brothers, the Chiefs tight end gave a shoutout to the Chicago team.
A Chicago man sued when his insurance firm refused to pay for injuries his son suffered when he was hit on a bike by a motorist.
The Rev. Richard McGrath’s name belongs on lists of abusers kept by all church districts where he worked, supporters of survivors say.