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Anne Arundel County public library workers file union petition for official recognition

Photo credit: AFSCME Maryland Council 3
Anne Arundel County public library workers file union petition for official recognition
By AFSCME Maryland Council 3 ·

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Members of Anne Arundel Library Workers United (AALWU) in Maryland successfully filed for recognition of their union on July 1.

The union represents nearly 400 librarians, library associates, circulation staff, building care technicians and other employees of the Anne Arundel County Public Library System (AACPL).

AACPL workers presented their union recognition petition with a supermajority of support to the system’s CEO, Skip Auld. A neutral arbitrator will be selected to review the petition and union cards via a card check process. Upon demonstration of majority support, the arbitrator will certify their union with AFSCME Maryland Council 3.

Workers began organizing in early 2023, publicly announcing their intent to organize with Council 3 later in November. Library workers partnered with AFSCME to push for the passage of HB 609/SB 591 (Library Workers Empowerment Act) at the Maryland General Assembly during the most recent legislative session. Signed into law by Gov. Wes Moore earlier this year, the Library Workers Empowerment Act grants all library workers in the state the right to unionize and collectively bargain. 

Library workers in Anne Arundel County now join workers at the Howard County Public Library system and the Enoch Pratt Free Library system, who have all unionized with Council 3 in the last few years as part of AFSCME’s Cultural Workers United campaign. Nationally, AFSCME represents over 25,000 library workers.

The members of Anne Arundel Library Workers United are committed to fighting for fair wages, a safe work environment and adequate staffing through transparent and timely communication that focuses on front-line workers’ experiences. The newly formed bargaining unit will create a formal pathway for workers to better advocate for themselves and the communities they serve. 

“I've experienced firsthand how our union benefits libraries and the workers that pour their heart into serving our communities,” said Jayne Walters, a Severna Park librarian. “I believe that everyone will benefit from our new bargaining power and being able to have a say at work.”

Craig Wallace, a building care technician in Edgewater, added, “When we came together to organize, we had shared goals: we wanted fair treatment and transparency in our processes. Now, with AFSCME, we’re ready to win.”

For Chris Kim, a Mountain Road part-time information staff member, joining a union was a powerful tool to fix problems in the workplace.

“Library employees have had to wait years for reasonable changes, from removing late fees on books to upgrading plumbing to shifting operating hours. My hope is that, with our collective voice as a union, we will be able to raise concerns and find solutions,” said Kim.   

Patrick Moran, president of Council 3, said: “Anne Arundel’s library system staff have spoken up and their choice to form a union has been heard loud and clear. Their path to get here was anything but easy. They’ll soon join our movement of over 45,000 other workers represented by AFSCME Maryland who provide essential public services to communities across Maryland.”

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