September 2017 Issue
August 30, 2017

Nyack librarians beat back anti union law firm

Author: By Matt Smith
Source: NYSUT United
Nyack librarians gather to attend a library board meeting to tell trustees to stay out of their union vote.
Caption: Nyack librarians gather to attend a library board meeting to tell trustees to stay out of their union vote.

The new school year kicks off with a noteworthy gain for New York's labor movement.

Library workers in Nyack have voted to organize and affiliate with NYSUT.

"The challenges that confront labor are many," said NYSUT President Andy Pallotta. "We will never stop fighting to improve the lives of working people, and despite being under attack, we continue to succeed as a result of our determination and commitment to what's right."

Nyack library workers fought off a vicious anti-labor campaign waged by the Nyack Library Board of Directors, which hired Jackson Lewis, the notorious union-busting law firm, to try and defeat the organizing effort.

Using deception and fear, Jackson Lewis besieged library workers with anti-union missives "warning" of the "risks" of unionizing.

With support from concerned community members, staff was able to beat back the firm's relentless attack. Pivotal to the librarians' victory was a midsummer board meeting in which library workers and residents appeared in force to demand Jackson Lewis' firing.

"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."

On July 24, workers voted overwhelmingly to unionize, and in August, the unit received certification from the National Labor Relations Board. The Nyack Staff Library Association will have some 50 members. Since the vote to unionize, neither the library nor Jackson Lewis has taken any action to challenge the outcome.

The union will now elect a bargaining team and prepare for its first negotiations.

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