Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited
Keywords Academic libraries, Public libraries, Benefits, Librarians, Salaries
The University of Pittsburgh Library's faculty assembly, which represents 50 faculty librarians, has petitioned the university to extend its insurance benefits to same-sex domestic partners. In fighting the exclusion of gay and lesbian partners from insurance benefits, the assembly presented a statement calling the policy "discriminatory and harmful". They also claimed that it made it more difficult to attract the best employees and that it reflected poorly on "the university's level of sincerity in valuing diversity within the workplace". In 1999, there were several such demands from faculty, staff, and student groups, and seven current and former Pitt employees are suing the university over its refusal to extend such benefits. University spokesperson Ken Service had no comment.
On 10 December, union leaders and staff members representing New York City's three public library systems, the directors of those systems, and other library officials unanimously urged the New York City Council to hold hearings on the ongoing personnel crisis. The five-year contract for city employees expires 31 March, but library salaries are so inequitable that Lee Saunders, administrator of District Council 37, the city's umbrella union, exhorted the city to establish an "inequity fund" allowing salaries to be improved even before negotiations begin. The starting salary for a librarian in New York is $31,296, which is less than in city schools and far less than in many suburbs or major cities such as Seattle or San Francisco. The president of the union representing Brooklyn employees said that the salaries are responsible for the systems' inability to keep staff and that the staff deficits cause "physical and mental exhaustion". Although the city officials have feared that adjusting librarians' salaries might encourage pressure from larger unions such as those for teachers or police, the amount of money needed to give a 15 per cent adjustment is only $9 million.