CSEA Local 1000 AFSCME AFL-CIO, Suffolk Local 852, Unit 8349 endorses the passing of the 2015 budget for the Smithtown Special Library District.
Of course it does, you say: the union, which represents the 100-plus full- and part-time Civil Service employees of the Smithtown Library, has a vested interest in the budget passing.
True enough. Like working people everywhere, library employees have bills to pay and families to care for. A failed budget vote could mean reduced hours or lost jobs for employees due to reduced hours and service to the community. Union employees are not tax grabbers or highly-paid political appointees. We earn no more than our neighbors with comparable educational and job requirements and many of us earn less. Our contractual cost of living adjustment this year was 1.25%, less than the 1.7% national rate of inflation [Bureau of Labor Statistics, 9/17/2014]. No union member works at a public library to get rich.
But safeguarding jobs and families is not the sole motivating factor in encouraging the passing of the budget. Most of our members pursued a career in library work because they have a commitment to public service and appreciate the value of a good public library to this or any community.
But good public libraries don’t come free. It takes money to stock, staff and maintain a public library. Still, all things considered, your public library is community’s best educational, cultural and recreational value. Does that sound self-serving? It isn’t. Library employees are taxpayers, too. Just like everyone else, we know what we want for our tax money and we scrutinize what we get. And we know how little of that tax money, percentage-wise, goes to public libraries.
We know that it is the public’s satisfaction with the service they receive on each visit to the library in person or online at the library’s website throughout the year upon which rests the outcome of any budget vote. The union employees of the Smithtown Special Library District take pride in delivering the best service they can with the resources with which they are provided. From supervisors and schedule-makers to those who check out books, DVDs and CDs with a smile and a friendly word; to those who go the extra mile to track down a rare book or article or to provide help downloading an e-book; to those who instill the joy of reading in our youngest patrons; to those who catalog and process a steady stream of new materials, sort the mail, keep the ledgers, pay the bills and keep our buildings and equipment clean, safe and working properly, every member of the Smithtown Library employees’ union cares about the work they do and the quality of service they provide. And, yes, even in the internet age, public libraries are busier than ever. Come by any weekend or weekday after school and check it out. It should be evident that all of us, employees and community residents alike, are best served by the passage of a fair and responsible library budget.
The 2015 library budget vote will be held at all four branches - Smithtown, Commack, Kings Park and Nesconset - from 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 14. Please join us in voting ”yes.”
Richard Riis, President
CSEA Local 1000 AFSCME AFL-CIO
Suffolk Local 852, Unit 8349