A great silent power lurks behind LAPL management. The Librarians Guild (AFSCME 2626) is a labor union representing rank and file librarians. The problem is that it’s been dominated by supervisors. Their bargaining unit is somehow combined with that of the rank and file members. Supervisors sit on the union’s executive board and process rank and file grievances. This would clearly seem to be a conflict of interest. At least it is in the private sector. Click here Labor Law Lexis to see what a Lexis labor law manual says about this.
In any case, I wasn’t aware of the union’s powerful reach until it was too late to avoid confrontation (not that I would have done anything differently anyway). Problems began after I had worked at bookmobile for some seven years and I was told by my supervisor – out of the blue – that I could only do city business during my “on call” lunch breaks on the bookmobile. I protested that this meant, essentially, that I had no lunch break at all. I filed a grievance regarding this issue. I didn’t realize that my supervisor happened to be the vice president of the union. When I attended the union meeting to discuss the grievance I was dismayed to see other supervisors on the executive board. Of course my grievance had no chance of being favorably resolved. And when I raised the conflict of interest issue I was clobbered by my supervisor’s retaliatory actions – including false accusations about my work.
But being falsely accused is no fun (and it’s not the road to job security). I was falsely accused of being a “problem employee” because I pointed out the conflict of interest that existed in the Librarians Guild. I worked successfully with the public for more than 30 years. However, as a result of raising this conflict-of-interest issue I was blacklisted as a “problem employee”. Grievances resulting from this situation (i.e., the retaliatory actions) were stonewalled one after the other within the Library Department. However, by going to the Employee Relations Board (in City Hall) the situation changed dramatically. I was invited to the City Librarian’s office and politely offered a deal which I couldn’t refuse: If I would drop my UERP claim against the City, I would be administratively transferred to another library branch (Exposition Park Regional Branch) and all references to past grievances would be removed from my employee folder. In March of 1991, I began working at the Exposition Park Branch.
The link below is to my 1991 UERP Claim (# 792) against the Library Department. (Another claim was made at the same time against the Librarians Guild.)