After almost two years of fruitless negotiations and numerous unfair labor practice charges, our siblings in UTLA (the union representing LAUSD educators) voted overwhelmingly to go on strike. The school district had failed to adequately address the issues that we know are essential to a healthy, nurturing educational environment, like lower class sizes; full-time nurses, counselors, and librarians; and less overtesting and more time for science, art, and music classes. UTLA was striking for the same things that we fight for in our own MOUs, including fair compensation that reflects the important work that educators do.
Through a very rainy week, Guild members stepped up to support UTLA members by standing with them in solidarity on the picket lines and providing snacks, coffee and ponchos. After a little over a week, UTLA won a contract that met many of their needs.
Sisters and Brothers,
This past Wednesday, Amber Fawn Clark, Supervisor of the North Natomas Public Library in the Sacramento Public Library system, was shot dead by a patron in the branch's parking lot after work. The shooting was intentional.
The news is shattering. Amber was beloved by her patrons and her co-workers. News reports document her passion for librarianship and serving her community and one photo shows her smiling, wearing a shirt that reads: The Future is Accessible.
Pearl Yonezawa, our Guild's Sunshine Chair, is preparing a condolences package to send to the staff at Amber's library.
Please be assured that the Librarians' Guild considers your safety to be our most paramount concern. In contract negotiations, we have successfully fought to establish our Joint Labor Management Health and Safety Committee, chaired by Jeff Sargeant. In this committee, we have established active shooter training, secured panic buttons at Central Library, stronger code of conduct rules, including the trespass rule (which was not in place before), security cameras in all branches and departments, and more security guards in our libraries, especially the branches and departments that experience the most problems on a daily basis. We have also helped establish the procedure for stay-away orders and suspensions of library privileges, which have been very successful in ridding our libraries of our most threatening patrons.
We urge all Library staff to be vigilant and work together to document problem patrons through Security Logs and Incident Reports. Also, let us know how we can help you if there are any health and safety issues in your work site that are not being addressed successfully via the chain of command.
Lastly, at this Saturday's Membership Meeting at Silverlake Branch, we will have a moment of silence in our agenda as a sign of respect and mourning for Amber.
Sincerely, Henry Gambill, President