AFSCME Librarians Start Union Revolution in Concord, MA 12/18/2011

It wasn’t quite a “shot heard round the world,” but a group of library employees working for the Town of Concord, MA generated quite a bit of noise in the birthplace of the American Revolution this month when they courageously became the first group of non public safety employees to form a union. 

More than 70% of the workers used the majority authorization process (commonly referred to as card check) to form a collective bargaining unit, providing themselves and their colleagues, with a more secure future.

While forming a union with AFSCME Council 93 will undoubtedly improve the wages, benefits and working conditions for the employees, for most of the workers  it was more about respect than anything else.  “That was their number one goal,” said Council 93 Organizing Director Alva Arellano, “they wanted to be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

In fact, the newest AFSCME members were so passionate about their goal they used their own money to place an advertisement in the local newspaper in which they articulated their reasons for forming a union directly to the taxpayers. 

As the scene of the first battle of the American Revolutionary War, Concord, MA is considered the place where our nation was born and a strong symbol for liberty and self government. But incredibly, until this brave move by the library workers, town employees have labored without having a meaningful role in governing their own future. 

It remains to be seen whether or not the librarians’ revolutionary move leads to more unionization in town, but one thing is clear – the first battle was a decisive victory.