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April 13, 2021

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Library workers get pay increase

Board approves raise for 49 employees starting Jan. 1

By , Columbian Education Reporter
Published:

Library trustees approved a pay increase for 49 employees Friday, ending several months of contract negotiations with members of one of the system’s unions.

By a unanimous decision, the Fort Vancouver Regional Library District Board of Trustees approved a 5 percent raise for members of Local 307L of the Washington State Council of County and City Employees union in 2019. The local union falls under the oversight of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, one of the country’s largest labor unions.

The salary increase will affect employees including administrative assistants, supervisors, coordinators, managers and librarians. The two-year agreement also includes a 2 percent raise in 2020.

Union members also supported the salary increase, with all 40 who cast ballots voting in favor of the raises.

Bill Keenan, director of organizing for AFSCME Council 2, assisted in local bargaining.

“We think it was a fair settlement,” Keenan said.

Salaries for WSCCCE members range from $33,738 to $83,179 annually, depending on the position and the individual’s years of experience. That will increase to a range of $35,424.48 to $87,338.16 effective Jan. 1, according to contract documents provided by the library.

Catalog librarians, for example, will see their minimum pay increase from $48,090.00 to $50,494.08. Those employees will max out at $75,741.12, up from $72,134.

Wages and benefits for all employees, not just WSCCCE members, constitute about 65 percent of the library’s $27.6 million annual general fund budget. This update, which includes increases to Social Security and Medicare contributions and pension plans, is expected to cost the library system an additional $161,350 in 2019.

There are 251 total employees at the library district, as well as 34 substitute employees.

Friday’s decision ends bargaining that started in May, FVRL Executive Director Amelia Shelley said. The raises are based on a market study of library employees in the region, including the Multnomah, Pierce and Spokane County library systems.

Union leaders are expected to sign the agreement today.

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