A rally of concerned community members took place on Thursday, Dec. 2, at 12 p.m. in front of the Bernstein-Marcus building, the area near the Office of the President and other administrators to support library workers. University library workers held a strike in order to push for a change in their contract.
According to Thomas Valicenti—a Brandeis Library worker, union steward and negotiator with the Brandeis Library Workers Union—the union members “face flat wages, opaque pay structures and no clear paths to careers at Brandeis.” The union has been in contract with the university for six months, Valicenti told The Brandeis Hoot in an email. “We’ve had 11 sessions over that time period, and we still have a long way to go in order to get a fair contract,” he wrote.
The union’s goal is to achieve benefits equity as well as transparent salary which, according to Valicenti, align with the Brandeis proposal to address systemic racism as well as ‘21-’22 goals of the Staff Advisory Committee (BUSAC).
Brandeis has proposed “a two percent across-the-board increase for library staff for the next three years,” wrote Valicenti. He also explained that currently, the library workers have to tiers of benefits, however those who are non-exempt are “treated like second class citizens,” while Brandeis rejected the proposal on benefits equality.
According to Valicenti, without a fair contract, the library workers “face effective wage cuts, inequitable benefits across groups and no clear career trajectories.”