October 6, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Neil Bhaerman, OFT Communications Director, 412-266-489, firstname.lastname@example.org
Grandview Heights Public Library Voluntarily Recognizes Union
GRANDVIEW HEIGHTS, OH — Yesterday, the Grandview Heights Public Library voluntarily recognized the union that was recently formed by librarians and library workers.
The union’s official recognition was the result of the library declining to request an election after signed union cards from an overwhelming majority of library employees were submitted to library management and the State Employee Relations Board on August 30. The library’s decision saves months of delay and unnecessary legal expenses that would have occurred if the library refused to recognize and forced workers to hold an election. It also allows both sides to immediately begin the bargaining process and work together on a fair contract for librarians and library workers.
"I love working at Grandview Heights Public Library. My coworkers are constantly thinking of ways we can better support our community and I believe this is one of those ways," said Christiana Congelio, a librarian at GHPL. "Having representation in policies and decision-making will make us a stronger, healthier, and more equitable organization."
The new union, Grandview Heights Public Library United, joins the Ohio Federation of Teachers, who represent nearly 20,000 active and retired public school teachers, charter school teachers, school support staff, higher education faculty and staff, and public employees in Ohio. They are the sixth group of workers that have joined OFT in the last 12 months following successful union elections at Worthington Public Libraries, Summit Academy in Lorain, Menlo Park Academy in Cleveland, Equitas Health, and the Jefferson County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
“Library staff who work directly with patrons have insight that is not just beneficial but vital to how our libraries operate,” said Becca Bushman, a library associate at the Worthington Park branch of Worthington Libraries. “Unions are the most effective way to funnel that insight into real change. We are so thrilled for and proud of Grandview Heights Public Library United. We look forward to working alongside them to maintain and raise the standards of central Ohio libraries.”
“I am so glad to welcome the librarians and library workers at Grandview Heights Public Library who stood up, not only for their rights at work, but also to improve and strengthen the essential service they provide for the community,” said Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers. “Libraries are key to the academic and intellectual freedom that all Americans should have. They will join 1.7 million AFT members, including thousands of employees at public libraries around the country, who know that by coming together in a union they can gain far more than they ever could alone.”
“Growing up, I have seen the importance of unions and the way they have saved my family's lives. They provided us with security. I believe my coworkers and I deserve that same kind of security in our workplace,” said Claire Ehmann, a library associate at GHPL. “We all work so hard and we deserve an environment where we can be heard regardless of job description.”
“As a statewide union of educators and public service workers, our members know how vital our public libraries are for students and communities throughout Ohio,” said Melissa Cropper, President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers. “These workers formed their union because they love their library and know that it will be stronger, and better able to serve the community now that employees have a voice.”
The Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) represents 20,000 members who are active and retired public school teachers, charter school teachers, school support staff, higher education faculty and staff, and public employees. OFT works to advance quality education and public services and a voice in the workplace for Ohio’s education professionals. OFT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers.