NYACK, N.Y. July 17, 2017 — Nyack Library staff and local supporters tonight will attend a 7:30 p.m. monthly Board of Trustees meeting to send a message to board members that union-busting law firms should not be funded with taxpayer money. The meeting will take place in the community room of the Nyack Library, 59 South Broadway.
Tonight’s action comes a month after the board hired Jackson Lewis — a law firm notorius for its “union prevention” services — after more than 80 percent of library staff signed a union-authorization petition in late spring to affiliate with New York State United Teachers.
NYSUT charges that since Jackson Lewis was hired, the firm has wasted little time in helping management in its refusal to recognize the fledgling 50-member Nyack Library Staff Association — sending out classic boilerplate, anti-union missives urging staff to "do [its] homework and get the facts" — and warning of the alleged "risks" of unionization.
"The library's hiring of Jackson Lewis should not be seen as business as usual," NYSUT President Andrew Pallotta said. "It should be seen for what it is: a hostile act. Jackson Lewis isn't simply a management-side law firm; it's a management-side law firm that specializes in union busting — and that is not okay."
Nyack residents will join staff tonight at the meeting to deliver an open letter and a petition signed by hundreds of labor supporters, demanding the library board fire the union-busting law firm.
The tactics employed by Jackson Lewis have been especially unsettling to staff, whose letter to the board states that "…we've done our homework, we've gotten the facts about our union and collective bargaining, (and) we are exceedingly well informed ..." It also noted: "We did all that gathering and sharing of information because … that's what we do. We work in a library for goodness sake; we know how to do research, we know how to learn new things, we know how to share the information we have found with others."
"My co-workers and I have decided to form a union, which is our right," said Myra Starr, a longtime South Nyack resident and a bookkeeper at the library. "It's just appalling, especially in a place like Nyack, that my employer thinks it's acceptable to use my own tax money to fight us."
New York State United Teachers is a statewide union with more than 600,000 members in education, human services and health care. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the AFL-CIO.