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Letter: Library Staff Association Affiliates With United Public Service Employees Union

The front page article regarding the Manhasset Library budget and negotiations (“Library Budget Represents A 2 Percent Tax Increase” - April 12, 2012) requires some clarification and response.

At a recent board meeting, certain information was shared with the public that warrants correction. To date, the library is short-staffed. The Adult Reference Department, which had six full-time librarians two years ago, currently has only three - not four, as was indicated at the meeting. The Children’s Department also has only three librarians, not four. The current staff is doing its utmost to continue to provide the same level of service that the Manhasset community is used to - even as the library is open additional hours and has become more active, and more utilized, than ever.

The staff association continues to be dedicated to serving patrons. Most of those who work there live within minutes of the library - it is their community too. They strive every day to provide a familiar and happy face to those who visit the library. In a time when other libraries are switching to automated services they continue to work for maintaining a human connection for patrons. They know community members by name, and their children and grandchildren. And they have maintained that dedication over the last two years - even during the course of difficult contract negotiations.

Fortunately, over the years, the trustees have done a good job in running the library, to the extent that it has the financial ability to continue operation, and maintain services even in the face of tax caps, and other perceived financial constraints.

To be clear, the Manhasset Library Staff Association has worked with great effort, and with open minds, toward a fair and equitable contract. They are aware of the current state of the economy, and have been willing to work with the library even in the midst of the times. Many of the staff have unemployed family members, family illnesses and bills to pay as does everyone else. They are eager to move forward with technology and all changes for the public good - they embrace these changes and want to be partners with the library board of trustees’ vision for the future.

The United Public Service Employees Union recently had the privilege of having the Manhasset Public Library Staff Association affiliate with us for purposes of collective bargaining and representation. We look forward to representing such a dedicated staff so passionate about their jobs, and their community, as we work toward improved working conditions and a fair agreement for all.

Amanda Barker
Labor Relations Representative
United Public Service
Employees Union