The Head Librarians of the University’s 12 Residence Hall Libraries recently voted to join the Graduate Employee Organization more than a year after they first approached GEO about becoming members. GEO is a legal bargaining unit whose members include University graduate student instructors and graduate student staff assistants.

“HLs approached GEO in September 2001, however, we were unable to complete the membership process during last year’s negotiations. In October, the University recognized GEO as our bargaining representative,” HLs and Rackham students Rebecca Yoo, Erin Muladore and Gretchen Andry said in a written statement.

GEO President and Rackham student Daniel Shoup said although GEO has represented GSSAs who work in the academic libraries, they were not always aware of the extensive services that HLs provide to the residence halls.

In addition to a variety of administrative duties, the head librarians maintain and develop library collections, supervise staff and program educational events for undergraduate students. They work an average of 30 hours a week in addition to being graduate students in the School of Information.

Because of their role in developing educational programs in the residence halls, the HLs say their role is similar to that of GSIs and GSSAs.

Shoup said although HLs are different from GSIs in that their job includes administrative, supervisory and purchasing duties, and they are the only workers they represent employed by housing rather than an academic unit, they still work in education.

“Like everyone else, they deserve fair compensation, a say about their working conditions, and the ability to get fair redress if problems arise,” Shoup said.

In a written statement, the HLs said they feel very positive about joining GEO.

“This is something that we have worked on for over a year, and it feels very good to have accomplished this step. The University’s recognition of us as GEO members validates the significance of the work HLs accomplish through the RHL program.”

The HLs said they will benefit greatly from GEO’s expertise during upcoming negotiations with University administration. Because they were not members of GEO at the time of last year’s negotiations, they will bargain separately after Winter Break. They said GEO will be able to provide training and advice, as well as becoming an advocate for HLs.

“GEO will do everything it can to ensure that RHLs win the best contract possible for themselves and for future generations of RHLs,” GEO member and Rackham student Irfan Nooruddin said. “We will provide advice based on our experiences from bargaining with the University over the past 28 years as well as our help in organizing and mobilizing community support for the HLs as they bargain their first contract.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.