CROTON-ON-HUDSON — Workers at the Croton Free Library are the newest CSEA-represented library employees in Westchester County after the group voted in October to join our union.
Since unionizing means staff will have workplace policies in writing and gain a voice on the job, organizing committee members said the process will improve their working conditions. The community will benefit, too, they said.
“We wanted to do this because we want to be able to give to the community the best of our abilities,” said Marion Callis, a librarian and member of the organizing committee. “Our patrons get really good service from us. We’ve let them know that our wish is for it to be that good or better moving forward.”
Callis connected with CSEA Deputy Director of Organizing Jessica Riley, who helped workers get the organizing process underway. It took only one month from the time the organizing committee notified management of their intent to unionize before the National Labor Relations Board election took place.
“I think the group was really ready for it,” said Gillian Rothchild, a librarian and organizing committee member. “I was part of the union when I used to work for the ASPCA and am a big believer in organized labor. I even did the union semester internship through the Murphy Institute at CUNY, so I was very much on board with us organizing here.”
Organizing committee members said they hope contract negotiations will allow them to codify a number of workplace policies, which should ensure consistency with management regardless of who’s at the helm.
“We would like the ability to know that things are more structured than they are now,” said Kim Stucko, a librarian and organizing committee member.
Workers said they appreciate the words of support they received from both community and union leaders. Croton-on-Hudson Mayor Brian Pugh wrote workers a letter of support and CSEA Southern Region President Anthony Adamo had a letter to the editor published in the weekly Croton Gazette, urging neutrality from management during the election process and requesting community support for workers.
In addition to solidarity from the public, workers said the organizing process has helped build cohesiveness amongst co-workers.
“Our schedules keep us somewhat isolated from one another but organizing meant I had to reach out to people I don’t know really well, tell them what we were doing, and ask for their support,” said Rothchild. “It was really a great chance to connect.”
“We’re honored to welcome Croton Free Library workers into the CSEA family and will continue to stand with them as they work toward their first contract,” said Adamo.
— Jessica Ladlee
From left to right, Croton Free Library workers and organizing commitee members Marion Callis, Kim Stucko and Gillian Rothchild celebrate forming a union with CSEA.