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Springfield library workers calling for pay increases

Springfield library workers calling for pay increases
Published: Jun. 23, 2022 at 1:16 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) - Library clerical staff at public libraries in Springfield are calling for an increase in their pay, especially after COVID-19 forced changes at their workplaces.

Springfield City Councilor Trayce Whitfield is advocating for the Springfield Organization of Library Employees, also known as SOLE, after they asked her for support for negotiations they want to see with their contracts.

“The clerks and circulation employees that work for the library department, they sent us an email from the union just asking for livable wages. They currently make $16.64 an hour and they offered two percent over four years, but with inflation up eight percent that’s just not enough for them,” Whitfield said.

She told Western Mass News the group has had ongoing discussions about their contracts with Springfield’s Department of Human Resources and Labor Relations since this past January. She said workers in the SOLE group are extremely valuable to the city especially throughout the past two years.

“They sent over 38,000 COVID tests in a time of need. When we really needed that support, that’s still putting their lives at-risk, just be interacting with all these different people. We need to take these things into consideration…This staff help our most disadvantaged population, like the children that come in here maybe don’t have Wifi. They help them get it set up, they give loaner iPads or tablets to help them with schoolwork,” Whitfield added.

Whitfield said that she supports these workers and wants to see negotiations made.

“I fight for the people that sometimes can’t use their own voice because sometimes they don’t want to become targets…I just want ask the administration to please when considering these negotiations when considering the money that’s going out the door in the city of Springfield, make sure we put our residents first,” Whitfield noted.

We did reach out to Springfield’s human resources department for comment, as well as Mayor Domenic Sarno’s office, but have not yet heard back.