Approximately 30 Knight Library classified employees, UO bargaining rep. Kurt Willcox, SEIU staff person Denise Garrett, and a student affiliated with the UO Student Labor Action Project participated in a Knight Library Unity Break on August 20th, 2013.
Kurt gave us a brief bargaining update on the steps of the Knight Library, after which the purple-clad crowd hoisted picket signs and paraded silently through Reference and Documents (prompting some vocal support from students working the desk near the Documents Center). We then filed into the Rowe Room in the Libraries administration office to meet with UO Libraries dean Deb Carver and UO Libraries Head of Organizational Development and Human Resources, Shane Turner. We thanked them for meeting with us and informed them that so far 64 Knight Library staff have signed strike pledges (we didn’t yet have numbers in from the other library branches).
Deb and Shane both talked about their support for us and the huge impact it would make on the Libraries if we were to go out on strike. Deb has been talking to other deans and brought our concerns to President Gottfredson as well. She pushed to have Shane be appointed to a campus working group that has been looking at these concerns, but so far the group has only met once. They are both feeling hopeful about negotiations and that things will improve at the table.
Deb said she had questions about how she could support us or contribute to the UO Local 085 hardship fund in the event of a strike, so Tiffany VanPelt promptly promoted the current quilt raffle. Deb said she was aware of the raffle, and would remind Library Council that it is still going on. We told her that Beth Singler is on the hardship committee, and can accept donation checks, made out to “SEIU 085 Hardship Fund” and sent to Beth in the Knight Library, or to other members of the hardship committee. The meeting was extremely positive, and we think the Unity Break had a definite impact.
Photos courtesy of Paul Harvey.