Ferndale Library Workers Vote for Union, Here’s What Happens Next
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Feb. 3, 2023)
Ferndale, MI – Ferndale Library Workers voted 18-2 to unionize, with the votes being counted by The Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) Thursday morning. The vote is for representation by The Newspaper Guild of Detroit, CWA 34022.
Ferndale Library Director Jenny Marr told Oakland County Times “MERC will certify the results within 2 weeks and then we will be able to start negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement. I look forward to the process and listening to the ideas from the union.”
“I’m thrilled that there was 100% participation by the 20 employees in the bargaining unit. The library board wanted a democratic process so that every employee’s voice could be heard, and we achieved that,” Marr said.
Mary Grahame Hunter was one of the more vocal organizers of the unionization effort. She said that workers will elect union representatives. Then the union administrator and library director will work to create a schedule for collective bargaining negotiations.
She said the topic of union dues would be part of the collective bargaining process. No dues would be collected until after their first contract is signed.
The victory comes after asking the Ferndale Area District Library Board for voluntary recognition in December. At their Dec. 15, 2022 the Board opted to see legal guidance and to require a third-party-administered, anonymous, vote.
“We feel excited!” Hunter said. “A huge majority of workers at the Ferndale library have come together to say it’s time for us to have a seat at the table and negotiate our working conditions and what we receive as compensation for our labor. Now we have that seat! We’re taking time to celebrate all the work we’ve done up to this point, and then we’ll turn to the next chapter: bargaining.
“We want the Ferndale and metro Detroit communities to know that their support has been invaluable to us. To everyone who has come into the library and told a staff member that they support the union and that they have our backs—thank you, from the bottom of our hearts. To everyone has come to a board meeting, thank you. To the patrons who brought us bagels, doughnuts, and coffee as morale boosters during the election period, thank you! We do this library work because it’s our way of showing up for our community, and our community has consistently shown up for us. We’re confident that support will continue as we enter collective bargaining.”
Learn more about the Detroit Newspaper Guild at https://detroitguild22.org/.
Learn more about Ferndale Library Workers on Twitter.
Learn more about the Library at https://www.ferndalepubliclibrary.org/.