Springfield library workers demand pay raises

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) – Clerical staff at Springfield Public Libraries are demanding an increase in their pay, especially after COVID-19 forced changes to their workplace.

Springfield City Councilwoman Trayce Whitfield pleads for the Springfield Library Workers’ Organization, also known as SOLE, after they asked her for help with negotiations they want to see with their contracts.

“Clerks and traffic workers who work for the library service, they sent us an email from the union just asking for a living wage. They’re currently making $16.64 an hour and they’ve offered 2% over four years, but with inflation up 8%, that’s just not good enough for them,” Whitfield said.

She told Western Mass News that the group had ongoing discussions about their contracts with the Springfield Human Resources and Labor Relations Department since last January. She said the SOLE Group workers have been extremely valuable to the city, especially over the past two years.

“They sent over 38,000 COVID tests when needed. When we really needed that support it was always life threatening, just interacting with all these different people. We have to take these things into consideration… These staff help our most disadvantaged population, like the children who come here may not have Wifi. They help them set it up, they lend them iPads or tablets to help them with their homework,” Whitfield added.

Whitfield said she supports these workers and wants negotiations to begin.

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

We’ve reached out to Springfield’s human resources department for comment, as well as Mayor Domenic Sarno’s office, but haven’t heard back yet.

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