Chicago Claims Demotions Will Save Library Jobs. (News Fronts: USA)

Article excerpt

Chicago Public Library officials gave 30 days' notice to an unspecified number of unionized library workers July 1 that they must either accept a lower-paid position or be laid off effective August 1. Setting off a domino effect, the process began when Librarians V were informed that to avoid getting laid off they must exercise their seniority and bump Librarians IV to a lower rank. The latter were told that, if they had sufficient seniority, they too would be entitled to bump downward.

The action was carried out as part of Mayor Richard Daley's June 21 order to cut personnel costs for almost every city department; the reductions are intended to save Chicago some $9 million overall out of an anticipated $115-million shortfall, city budget office spokesperson Lisa Schrader told American Libraries. The library is being asked to cut just over $1 million and, according to CPL Director of Marketing Jamey Lundblad, could not take advantage of Daley's recommendation to transfer payroll expenses to state and federal grants because CPL's grants are "maxed out."

"I don't think [the public] will feel it at all," CPL Commissioner Mary Dempsey said in the July 4 Chicago Sun-Times, explaining that her aim was to put "the smallest number of people completely out of a job." Dempsey, who referred AL to Daley's press office, also told the Sun-Times that she anticipated no more than 10 people would actually lose their jobs.

Daley spokesperson Roderick Drewes told AL, "Those laid off will probably come from the clerical pool," adding that all non-unionized city employees earning more than $55,000 (including Dempsey and Mayor Daley) will have taken three furlough days by the end of 2002 to save an additional $1.5 million.

Timing is everything

Dempsey made her remarks at a board meeting called to announce CPL's $2. …

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