Great Neck Library Board and staff strike new agreement after six years

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The Great Neck Library Board of Trustees ratified a new contract for the Library Staff Association at a Board of Trustees meeting last week, marking an agreement six years in the making.

Since December 2011, unionized library staff members had gone without a contract. Negotiators said that they needed to address issues like healthcare contributions, dental insurance, Sunday pay, longevity pay and overall budget concerns.

“We’ve looked for cost savings for the library and we’ve looked to maintain benefits the employees have enjoyed over the years,” said Joan Sommermeyer, a labor relations specialist with the New York State United Teachers, which is affiliated with the staff association and helped with negotiations.

Over the last six years, library staff members have worked without a pay raise.

But now with the signing of the contract, they will see a 2 percent increase in salary per year until 2021, keep their dental insurance and continue to receive longevity pay.

They will also be receiving a bonus payment as a “thank you” for the adjustments they made during library renovations, as well as general recognition for their work, library representatives said.

Sources attributed the delays to the library’s “state of transition.” Changes in leadership, library renovations and staff and director changes made focusing on the agreement difficult for both sides.

“When we started to make progress, it was after the big stumbling blocks were taken out of the picture,” Sommermeyer said.

Library representatives described the deal as a fair side where both sides benefit. Marietta DiCamillo, chair of the library’s finance and personnel committees, said she was delighted that they reached an agreement recognizing the staff’s hard work, especially during the renovation periods.

“It was a long and hard fought battle, but ultimately yields us five years of labor piece,” DiCamillo said.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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