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Statement on Union Organization

Library statement on AFSCME Majority Interest Petition

August 10, 2021, by Edith G. Craig, Library Director

On August 2, 2021, St. Charles Public Library was notified that AFSCME Union Council 31 submitted a Majority Interest Petition to the Illinois Labor Relations Board, seeking certification as the exclusive representative for certain professional and non-professional library positions.  

The library recognizes the statutory right of public employees to organize as a union. We are in the process of reviewing the petition and the appropriateness of the proposed bargaining unit, and will comply with our obligations for a response. If and when AFSCME is certified as the exclusive representative for a designated bargaining unit, the library will look forward to a collaborative working relationship, as we have had with our employees over the years.

In view of reports and statements made to the media, we find it necessary to clarify some information about the library’s past and current wages, benefits and working conditions. 

First, with respect to wages, since 2008, staff have received annual cost-of-living and merit increases, averaging 3.5%.  In 2017, the library voluntarily studied employee wages as compared to the market and made adjustments where appropriate. The library is committed to evaluating library wage to market considerations every 2-3 years.

Second, during the Library’s closure due to COVID-19, no staff member was laid off or terminated and benefits remained intact as if
employees were working their regular hours. The library also implemented a remote work policy, and as needed, provided staff with computer and Wi-Fi access.

Third, the library provides competitive or above-market policies for its staff, which are evaluated on an annual basis.  For example:

  • Maintaining a variety of health insurance plan options, with the library absorbing increases to insurance premium payments for 3 years in a row (2017-2019)
  • Adopting an extended sick leave policy to include part-time staff who do not qualify for FMLA
  • Offering wellness, working solutions and leadership mentor programs
  • Providing an “Open Door Employee Concerns Hotline & Policy”
  • Providing a broad-reaching Educational Assistance Plan
  • Providing professional development for all staff levels
  • Promoting inter-department collaboration and opportunities for staff to serve on committees which recommend action/outcomes to Administration or the Board

Fourth, the library regularly evaluates working conditions to promote a safe and healthy working environment.  Notably, the library:

  • Offered a $100 incentive for staff who received the COVID-19 vaccine
  • Adjusted work schedules to allow staff to get vaccinated when appointment times were available
  • Implemented layered mitigation strategies with the library’s reopening to staff and the public, including but not limited to temperature readers, reconfiguring work stations and work schedules to promote physical distancing, and regular sanitizing of high touch areas in the library

The library remains committed to our employees and the community.  Thank you.