Tuesday, April 14, 2015


Rochester, NY -- Let’s face some facts-- wealthy billion dollar corporations and the CEO's who run them dole out poverty wages so they can continue to exponentially line their own pockets. It's time to say, "Enough is Enough!"

We are asking all community members to join us tomorrow at our local Fight for 15 Rally-- and join tens of thousands of other concerned citizens around the country who care about eradicating poverty and reducing income inequality in our local communities. Please join us on Tax Day, April 15, 5:00 pm, at the University of Rochester, Rochester, New York!

In recent years, a growing movement has taken the public's attention calling for higher wages for all people. This movement, initiated by fast food workers has been taken up by airport workers, home health aides, Walmart workers, car wash workers, and thousands more.  We know that we're worth more, and we know that these multi-billion dollar corporations can afford to pay a living wage.

On April 15th, people around the world will make history as we hold rallies and marches demanding higher wages and economic justice in our communities. Thousands of working people will be marching in cities across the globe. We're making history and we're winning!

In Rochester, we will march with low-wage workers, church groups, unions, students, and community groups. Without hundreds of people taking bold, public action, nothing will change. It's time to march, time to chant, time to make our voices heard.

Organizers are requesting attendees to use the parking logistics information at the bottom of this page. The rally is on the Eastman Quadrangle, the Rush Rhees Library is the east end of the Quad. The march will proceed west on Elmwood Avenue to College Town (Mt Hope Avenue – east of UR Medical Center).

Organizations Endorsing Fight For Fifteen, Rochester, New York 

Metro Justice of Rochester
1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East
American Postal Workers Union (APWU) Rochester Area Local 215
Black Rose Anarchist Federation/FederaciĆ³n Anaquista Rosa Negra, Rochester
Buddhist Peace Fellowship Rochester Chapter
Calvary St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Parish
Citizen Action of New York
Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA/AFSCME Local 1000)
Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) Rochester Chapter
Downtown United Presbyterian Church Social Justice Committee
First Unitarian Church of Rochester Social Justice Council
First Universalist Church Social Justice Committee
Friends of St. Bridget’s
Greater Rochester Community of Churches/Faith in Action Network
Interfaith Impact of New York State
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 86
International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT) Local 118
National Organization of Women (NOW) Rochester Chapter
New York State Public Employees Federation (PEF) Region 3
New York State United Teachers (NYSUT/AFT/NEA)
Pauperis Advocates, Inc
Pride at Work, AFL-CIO Rochester Finger Lakes Chapter
Rochester Alliance of Communities Transforming Society (Roc/ACTS)
Rochester Committee on Latin America (ROCLA)
Rochester Friends Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends
Rochester Regional Joint Board - Workers United
Rochester and Vicinity Labor Council, AFL-CIO
Service Employees International Union Local 200United
Sisters of Mercy - New York, Pennsylvania, Pacific West - Justice Team
Sisters of Mercy - New York, Pennsylvania, Pacific West - Leadership Team
Social Welfare Action Alliance Rochester Chapter
The Interfaith Alliance of Rochester (TIAR)
United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW) Local 1097
United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW) Local One
Worker Justice Center of New York
Working Families Party of New York

Monday, April 13, 2015

Libraries Work Because We Do

National Library Week will be observed April 12-18, 2015 highlighting the theme, "Unlimited possibilities @ your library®." First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and our library workers. All types of libraries -- school, public, academic and special – will be participating again this year. AFSCME and AFSCME NY/CSEA represent more than 25,000 library workers nationwide. 

Celebrations during National Library Week include: National Library Workers Day, celebrated the Tuesday of National Library Week (April 14, 2015), is a day for library staff, users, administrators and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers; National Bookmobile Day, celebrated the Wednesday of National Library Week (April 15, 2015), is a day to recognize the contributions of our nation's bookmobiles and the dedicated professionals who make quality bookmobile outreach possible in their communities; and Celebrate Teen Literature Day, celebrated the Thursday of National Library Week (April 16, 2015), is aimed at raising awareness among the general public that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today's teens and young adults.

History: In the mid-1950's, research showed that Americans were spending less on books and more on radios, televisions and musical instruments. Concerned that Americans were reading less, the ALA and the American Book Publishers formed a nonprofit citizen’s organization called the National Book Committee in 1954. The committee's goals were ambitious. They ranged from "encouraging people to read in their increasing leisure time" to "improving incomes and health" and "developing strong and happy family life."

In 1957, the committee developed a plan for National Library Week based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. With the cooperation of ALA and with help from the Advertising Council, the first National Library Week was observed in 1958 with the theme "Wake Up and Read!"

Strong Communities Work News April 2015

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Eight very good reasons why you should love your public library

AFSCME and CSEA support National Library Workers Day on April 14, 2015.
By Ove Overmyer
President, City of Rochester, NY Library Workers
Monroe County, NY Local 828 Unit 7420

1) Libraries are community cornerstones
Libraries are often referred to as “The People’s University.” They are fantastic community centers too—especially in a world where public space is shrinking rapidly and not everyone can gain access to a formal education. To visit your public library, all you need to do is stroll through our doors or go online. You don’t need to be subjected to an expensive membership fee either—the library is free and open to all walks of life.

Libraries have something to offer everyone no matter what your goals or ambitions – you can find a wonderful, escapist novel to read or a magazine with advice on living a healthier lifestyle. You can get a book to help you with a favorite hobby or learn the skills you need to run a business. You can catch up with current affairs; trace your family history or sign up for a computer class. Libraries truly offer something for every single person, and their barrier free facilities make our communities a more prosperous place to live.

2) A library card gives you access to all kinds of online subscriptions that you can use from home
In Monroe County, NY, you can access a great collection of database reference material and resources from your home or office computer—anytime and anywhere.  These include historic newspapers, magazines, dictionaries and encyclopedias, journals and business publications, arts and literature resources and public documents and other related information. Libraries are accessible 24/7 -- even when you are studying or researching at 3:00 am in the morning.

3) Using the library has never been easier
These days you can manage your library account in person, by telephone or online. You can visit more than 33 libraries of the Monroe County Library System (MCLS) conveniently located in your town or neighborhood, or use our mobile library catalogs or make use of our many online products and services. You can borrow fiction and non-fiction, e-books, audiobooks, magazines, CDs and DVDs as well as using reference services. Library patrons can also borrow low cost passes for entry to our most beloved museums and art attractions. And, if you can’t get to a branch due to a disability or mobility problem, we have an Outreach and Extension service that brings the library to you.

4) Libraries provide fast, easy Internet and PC access as well as free Wi-Fi
Let’s face it—not everyone can afford Internet access and a computer for home or personal use. Also, computers are just machines and they can break down from time to time. Need to scan a document or check your social security income status? Have you missed a few days catching up with friends and family on Facebook? Do you need to apply for unemployment insurance of find the right tax form? You can do all of this and more right here at your public library.

5) Buying all the latest bestsellers and music is not in my budget
The Monroe County Library System is one county one card—which means that every library card holder has access to over 2 million items to borrow. Using your library card can also save you a load of money on leisure and entertainment expenses– and we haven’t even mentioned the low cost savings when borrowing e-books, music and DVD rentals. For an incredibly small handling fee, you can also get most library items in the MCLS catalog sent to your neighborhood library in just a matter of days.

6) Libraries connect people and communities of interest
Libraries can help you keep up with your interests, hobbies and current affairs. Whether it’s attending a book talk, community forum, a health lecture, or finding out the latest neighborhood or political news—you can access all this information right here at your public library.

7) Libraries provide essential, reliable information to help you achieve your goals
You know what they say, “Google can get you a million answers. However, a unionized librarian will give you the right one.” It must be stated, what makes a good library become a great library is it's workforce. Collections alone do not make a great library-- it's the expertise of the people who serve our communities that make libraries extra-special institutions that improve our quality of life.

The local public library can help you with personal goals like creating a better fitness regime or a learning how to live a healthier lifestyle. It can offer resources for learning a new language, improving your literacy or mastering English as a second language. You can find out how to do important business tasks like accounting, project management or look for a higher paying job. At your public library, you can learn more about your ancestors, understand how to manage a medical condition, improve your computer skills, and find out how to write an effective cover letter. Whatever personal interests you may have, your public library has the potential to transform your life.

8) You’ll never know what you’ll find until you look
Never underestimate the joy of surprise. One of the greatest pleasures of browsing the public library is the fact your expectations are always matched or exceeded. Whether you walk through our doors or visit us virtually on one of our many online social media platforms, a world you never knew existed is waiting for you around the next corner. It’s this thrilling sense of wonderment and potential that makes library fans love their libraries so much. From learning about a great new author or meeting special friends at a book talk-- there is always something stimulating, wonderful and unexpected waiting for you at your local public library.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

NYS library systems get boost in aid

NYS library advocates are celebrating an increase in state aid for NYS Budget FY 2015-16.
Photo by Ove Overmyer
NYS library services get boost in aid
By Ove Overmyer
A big thank you is in order. General New York State Library Aid has been increased by $5 million (5.8 percent) from $86.1 million to $91.1 million for fiscal year 2015-16. Last year aid was increased by only $1 million (1.2 percent). Historically, library funding proposed by the NYS Executive Branch has been insultingly low-balled— however, thanks to our advocacy efforts the state legislature is now reawakened the fact that strong library systems are critical for local communities to grow and prosper.
Our local delegation gets it. They are good at what they do. And, for those who love library services this is a fantastic development. That being said, NYS library advocates are looking toward the future. In the coming months, we will be asking our state legislators to restore library funding to state mandated levels dictated by constitutional formulas.
Additionally, the $1.3 million MTA tax offset was again included in the budget bill. All libraries and public library systems will be permanently EXEMPT from the MTA tax. The $14 million public library construction grant program was again included in the budget bill. This is really good news for MCLS libraries presently under construction or renovating their facilities.
I want to personally thank all my friends and colleagues who picked up the phone or met with our state representatives during this budget session. Special thanks to Joe Robach, Assemblymember Harry BronsonJoe Morelle -- and all of the Rochester & Monroe County delegation. Our ability to come together and take positive action to improve upon the delivery of our library programs and services will no doubt transform the lives of the people we serve. Advocacy is not for the faint of heart. It's a 24/7 year round endeavor. Thanks again for all your support on behalf of those folks who love our libraries.
Overmyer is President, City of Rochester Library Workers Local 828 Unit 7420