Student Library Employees Vote to Unionize

Over 80 percent of voters were in favor of unionization.

By Katie Akin and Katherine Vega

Student library employees have voted to unionize, the Student Library Employees Union (SLEU) announced today. According to a statement published by SLEU, this union will be the first nationally recognized undergraduate and graduate students’ union in the United States.
In a statement for The Maroon, University spokesman Jeremy Manier said that the NLRB informed the University that a majority of students who voted chose to be represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 743. Manier wrote that of 225 eligible voters, about 38 percent voted; 67 voted yes and 13 voted no. 
“The University is reviewing the outcome, including the fact that only 30 percent of eligible students voted in favor of union representation,” Manier wrote. “The University deeply appreciates the contributions of students to the operation of the Library and remains committed to providing students who work in the Library with good conditions and fair pay.”
According to a SLEU statement sent to The Maroon, the union will not have an official contract until negotiations with the University finish “sometime next academic year.”
“These negotiations will be carried out between the University Administration and members of SLEU’s bargaining unit, union representatives, and other parties that members of SLEU consider necessary to be present,” the statement said.
The library union organizers began their push for unionization earlier this school year. On May 9, SLEU officially announced that they had filed for unionization at rally on the Quad. On May 29, the University held a town hall on the issue and took student questions about unionization. 
“The issues student library employees were most concerned with were flexibility and transparency of hours, adequate wages, and representation in cases of student library employees labor and Title IX rights being violated,” SLEU wrote. “However, the issues that will be dealt with first will be those SLEU members democratically decide should be dealt with first.”
The SLEU election took place amid the effort for graduate student unionization, as the Graduate Students Union (GSU) and the University await a ruling from the NLRB regional director. In the statement, Manier stressed that this election was entirely separate.