This story has been updated to include information on the library board’s vote.
The plan, if approved by the library board and the union’s membership, would cut full-time staff from 51 to 37 employees, eliminate all 14 part-time positions, and cut pay 10 percent for all remaining employees. As a result, the personnel budget will drop from $2 million to $1.4 million. An additional $80,000 must still be cut from the benefits package.
The move comes after officials of the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees Local 2760 characterized a previous cost-cutting plan as union busting and threatened to file a grievance. The plan, drafted by newly appointed director Otis D. Alexander, would have eliminated nine of 32 full-time positions, kept five full-time posts and converted 18 full-time posts to part-time, saving $1.4 million, according to the Post-Tribune.
As a result, it would have reduced union officials to part-time employees who would have been ineligible for a union card. “You can’t have much of a union with only five people left,” Gracie Allen, president of Local 2760, told NWI.com. After the union’s critique, the board suspended the March 1 deadline for implementation of the plan, which was approved on January 30, and formed a committee to meet with the union.
Such drastic cuts are necessary because tax revenue to support the library system has been halved in the past three years, primarily because of a tax cap, as LJ reported. The main library already closed on January 2 as a cost-cutting measure, eliminating about 30 jobs and leaving the system with four remaining branches. (A previous branch closed in November 2010.)
Alexander could not be immediately reached for comment.