Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Rockford Library Board OKs Union Contract

Link to November 16 Rockford Register-Star article."

Excerpt: After months of proposals and counter proposals, the Rockford Public Library Board and union members have a one-year contract.

The board of trustees held a special meeting today and unanimously approved the pact, which goes into effect Jan. 1. Board member Paul Logli was not present.

The agreement, ratified by the union on a 45-4 vote earlier this month, includes a wage freeze for more than 80 union employees and includes about 30 layoffs: 14 to 16 union members and 14 to 16 nonunion members, said Rockford Public Library Executive Director Frank Novak.

Union President Karla Janssen was pleased the board accepted the union’s proposal.

“I think it was the best decision we could make, given the circumstances,” she said.

The library found itself in the midst of a crisis when the city announced several months ago that it would no longer use property tax collections to pay for the library’s employee pensions, workers’ compensation and audits totaling $856,897. The Library Board is a separate taxing body and will have to pick up the cost. The loss of city revenue, coupled with the loss of other forms of revenue and an estimated $295,000 hike in expenses, meant the library was facing a $1.7 million deficit in 2010.

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