After pickets by the Graduate Employees Organization and contract negotiations with the University last week, the Residence Hall Librarians will not be striking today – even though two issues of their contract remain unresolved.
Although a strike was scheduled today, GEO is demonstrating a “good faith gesture,” GEO President Dan Shoup said. “We hope that by not having a strike, it will help the process of negotiations while still reserving the right to take action in the immediate future if this week’s bargaining proves unsuccessful,” Shoup said.
University spokeswoman Julie Peterson said the GEO’s decision not to strike will help to facilitate further discussion on the matter.
“With GEO not striking, it gives us positive indications that they are ready for more negotiations,” Peterson said.
Negotiations will resume tomorrow when the issue of wages and retroactive pay coverage for Residence Hall Librarians – who are students in the School of Information – will be discussed.
Rebecca Yoo, head librarian at Mosher-Jordan Residence Hall, said although the librarians work 30 hours per week while taking a full course load, the Residence Hall Librarians are paid at a lower rate than Graduate Student Instructors.
Last week, the University proposed that residence hall librarians receive the same salary as other University librarian associates, who are also School of Information students, but do not work in the Residence Hall libraries. University librarian associates are paid approximately 75 percent of what other GSIs make, Yoo said.
“We just want to be paid fairly,” Yoo said. “Librarians all over the world are paid low, even though you have to have a masters degree to be a librarian.”
Another issue that will be discussed tomorrow is the GEO’s current proposal to extend retroactive pay coverage to last semester, when the University agreed to officially recognize the librarians as GEO members.
The University has not counter-proposed the back-pay proposal, Peterson said.
LSA senior Rachel Warnick, who works at the Mosher-Jordan Residence Hall library, said the librarians provide a very valuable service to the living community of the residence halls.
“I think the Residence Hall Librarians are less respected than GSIs, but they put in so much time into their jobs,” Warnick said.
GEO Chief Negotiator Gretchen Andry said she was disappointed at the lack of compromise by the University.
“We have demonstrated our willingness to make compromises at the bargaining table by offering counter-proposals on every issue, but the University refuses to make any effort to move forward.”