Anne Arundel County Public Library Workers File Union Petition for Official Recognition

New union will represent nearly 400 library system staff across the county 

Annapolis On Monday, July 1, members of Anne Arundel Library Workers United (AALWU) successfully filed for recognition of their union. The union represents nearly 400 librarians, library associates, circulation staff, building care technicians, and others who are employees of the Anne Arundel County Public Library System (AACPL). 

AACPL workers presented their union recognition petition with a supermajority of support to the system’s CEO Skip Auld. A neutral arbitrator will be selected to review the petition and union cards via a card check process. Upon demonstration of majority support, the arbitrator will certify their union with AFSCME Maryland Council 3. 

Workers began organizing in early 2023, publicly announcing their intent to organize with AFSCME Maryland Council 3 later in November. Library workers partnered with AFSCME to push for the passage of HB 609/SB 591 (Library Workers Empowerment Act) in Annapolis during the most recent legislation session. Signed into law by Governor Wes Moore earlier this year, the Library Workers Empowerment Act grants all library workers in the State the right to unionize and collectively bargain.  

Library workers in Anne Arundel County now join workers at the Howard County Public Library system and the Enoch Pratt Free Library system, who have all unionized with AFSCME Maryland Council 3 in the last few years as part of AFSCME’s national Cultural Workers United campaign. Nationally, AFSCME represents over 25,000 library workers. 

The members of Anne Arundel Library Workers United are committed to fighting for fair wages, a safe work environment, and adequate staffing through transparent and timely communication that centers frontline workers’ experiences. The newly formed bargaining unit will create a formal pathway for workers to better advocate for themselves and the communities they serve.  

I've experienced firsthand how our union benefits libraries and the workers that pour their heart into serving our communities. I believe that everyone will benefit from our new bargaining power and being able to have a say at work,said Jayne Walters, a Severna Park Librarian. 

By unionizing, we are making our library system better for our staff and patrons. With AFSCME, we’re joining a chorus of public workers that demand fair treatment on the job and a voice at the table. Whether it’s stronger wages, better access to benefits, or transparent practices, we’re ready to fight and to win for all of us,said Laura Kellman, a Severna Park Library Associate. 

“When we came together to organize, we had shared goals: we wanted fair treatment and transparency in our processes. This vision was shared by workers in every position and at every branch. Now, with AFSCME, we’re ready to win. Not just for some of us, but all of us. As the late John Lewis said, it’s time to make some good trouble,said Craig Wallace, a Building Care Technician in Edgewater. 

“I am a union member so that we can create a more secure and just work environment for all library workers. Our union AFSCME has a proven track record of helping workers unionize, advocating for workers’ rights and fair treatment across the country. I want to win better working conditions so we can feel valued as contributing members of our library community and be empowered to better serve our community members, said Sabrina Razvi, a Severn Library Associate. 

“I chose to join our union and organize with AFSCME because I want to see problems addressed and resolved more quickly. Library employees have had to wait years for reasonable changes, from removing late fees on books to upgrading plumbing to shifting operating hours. My hope is that, with our collective voice as a union, we will be able to raise concerns and find solutions,said Chris Kim, a Mountain Road part-time information staff member   

“Anne Arundel’s library system staff have spoken up and their choice to form a union has been heard loud and clear. Their path to get here was anything but easy. They were with us in Annapolis every week from January through April to get the Library Workers Empowerment Act passed, and we are thrilled that their desire to form a union can finally happen. They deserve nothing less, and now they’ll soon join our movement of over 45,000 other workers represented by AFSCME Maryland who provide essential public services to communities across Maryland,” said Patrick Moran, President of AFSCME Maryland Council 3. 

About AFSCME Maryland Council 3 
AFSCME Maryland Council 3 represents nearly 45,000 public service workers in local, city, county and state government as well as in higher education and the private sector who provide the valuable public services that our communities rely on. From Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore, we make Maryland happen.