Thursday: Support Brown Library Workers contract for Brown’s library workers is up in three days, and university is pushing for a 250% increase in health care co-pays and other hard-hitting measures that will hurt the workers.  Please help out by reading on, and coming to rally this Thursday at noon at the Rockefeller Library, 10 Prospect Street.

As many of you may have heard, workers in Brown’s libraries are currently in contract negotiations with the university. The university is trying to:

  • Increase the workers’ contributions to their health care plan by 250%!
  • Remove language from their contract that allows them to have steady work hours
  • Officially get rid of the doorguard position at the Rock and replace it with a turnstile – making it near impossible for students who forget their IDs or non-Brown card holders to enter the library

This comes after a brutal spring 2010 in which many library jobs were subcontracted out for lower wages, including security guard positions.

So what can the Brown community do to support campus workers?  We can show the administration that we won’t accept these attacks on affordable health care and fair treatment.

  1. Join us at a rally this Thursday the 14th on the steps of the Rock (10 Prospect St) from Noon – 1. Check out the facebook event here:!/event.php?eid=160459787311320
  2. Send an email to 5 of the key administrators who are preventing the library workers from having a fair contract by using this cool tool:
  3. Sign the petition below in support of the library workers and your signature will be presented to the administration along with hundreds of others.  If you can’t see the petition below check in out here:

This issue is time-sensitive–the contract expires in less than three days–and we’re looking to mobilize as broad a section of the community as possible on behalf of workers’ rights.

7 thoughts on “Thursday: Support Brown Library Workers”

  1. You’re right. It’s 250% of the current level. Thanks for your support.

  2. Sam

    (1) You should reread my post. I didn’t take any side – my beef was the use of statistics in an inflammatory manner without any data for me to judge the facts of the case. You were able to rectify that problem easily (and Supportlibraryworkers helped too) – thank you both.

    (2) From the numbers you quote, the proposal is to increase the premium by 167% to 250% of the current level, this is not the same as increasing by 250% as originally written. A quibble to be sure, but getting the numbers right matters. Getting them wrong allow someone else to go “Aha! You’re wrong!” which can really derail a valid argument.

    (3) You have automatically assumed that because I questioned the form of the argument, I must therefor disagree with its content – an assumption that turns out to be false now that I have some data.

    You too can do better.

  3. SupportLibraryWorkers

    In response to JB’s comment of “So should students not be able to use the library optimally because the university aren’t allowed to hire staff that works at those hours to best assist them?”: The language requiring the University to go through the union process before changing around workers’ hours was ALREADY part of the contract that just expired. Since the libraries have never had to close early for want of library workers during the late shift, it’s pretty clear that this already-existing language in the contract doesn’t impede the University’s ability to staff the libraries.
    In fact, everything that the library workers and their supporters and allies are asking is that the University NOT change what is already in place in the current contract; a contract that is working much better for workers, students, and non-students that use the libraries than the University’s proposed changes would work. We are all asking Brown to NOT increase healthcare co-share (which would make the library workers co-share significantly higher than that of any other bargaining unit at Brown), to NOT change the language of the contract to allow the University to exclude workers from the decision-making table regarding hours and shifts, and to NOT install a turnstile (reinstating the door-guard position previously in place), which would at certain hours limit access to Brown’s libraries to those with a Brown ID card handy (excluding students at other schools in Providence, and other community members that currently utilize Brown’s libraries).

  4. First of all, thank you Dave, for taking interest in this issue. I’m glad someone still believes that labor injustices anywhere deserve our community’s concern.

    @ JB, AF, John

    It is a testament to the strength of anti-worker propaganda of this city that you all naturally take the WEALTHY CORPORATE university’s side in this dispute. As a student at Brown who’s been following the negotiations, I can tell you that Brown is once again trying to cut costs by attacking its most vulnerable workers.

    The U. wants to change the workers’ premium from 6% to 16%. They are not offering a wage increase to offset these changes. For many workers I’ve spoken to, this change is going to have a seriously detrimental impact on their standard of living. The negotiations have been going on for over a month and the U. hasn’t backed down on these changes.

    @JB – Don’t presume to know what students need. The changes the U. wants to implement will take away workers’ ability to negotiate over scheduling, and many workers fear management will force them to work the 12am-2 shift when students and staff agree, NO MORE STAFF SUPPORT IS NEEDED.

    What’s more, if you care about students so much, then be concerned that the university is constantly laying off workers and ELIMINATING POSITIONS in the library that are meant to provide student support–including the doorguards that David mentioned.

    I’ll be at the rally.

  5. As if this is necessary, let me again agree that using the 250% statistic (which is almost assuredly a scare tactic) makes me question how draconian these changes are.

    It’s that kind of alarmist language that made, you, Segal, so unelectable to people who would otherwise be predisposed to agree with your ideals. Honestly, it’s just a manipulation to use a number like 250% instead of telling us that Brown is changing from asking for a 4% contribution to 10% or a 10% to 25%. These are VERY different, and honestly, saying 250% suggests to me that this change is more like the former than the latter.

    Also, are you going on the first thing management put on the table? During a negotiation? Doesn’t everyone go in with their “never going to happen but I’d love it if it did” plan and then negotiate down?

    And as if any more criticism was needed at this point, “steady work hours” far from meets the changing needs of students who are using libraries differently than they had in the past. They go to libraries later, for longer, for both social and study space as opposed to research space. The staffing needs based on the use of students may no longer reflect a “steady work hours”. So should students not be able to use the library optimally because the university aren’t allowed to hire staff that works at those hours to best assist them?

  6. I absolutely agree w/ Mr. Gavin above. Also, if I remember correctly when I recently worked at Brown my copay was $10. If it is a $10 to $35 increase color me unimpressed. Brown massively subsidizes healthcare for it’s employees and off really great plans. If the choice is between a higher copay or some librarians getting fired then I think the choice is reasonable. If there is some other outrageous hardship the librarians are being asked to endure tell us.

  7. Are co-pays going from $1.00 to $3.50 (increasing by 250%) or $10.00 to $35.00 (increasing by 250%) or some other amount?

    The first is still a fraction of what most people pay, the second looks meaningful and something else could be quite painful – my degree of sympathy for the library workers somewhat depends on the answer to that question. Why not give me the facts instead of telling me what to think?

    Using statistics with an alarmist tone is something I expect from polemicists, not journalists – you can do better.

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