Unions & Collective Bargaining

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, one-fourth to one-third of U.S. library workers are unionized.

Fast Facts

In 2022, librarians who were union members earned 37 percent more per week than their non-union counterparts. Union library professionals are more likely to be covered by a retirement plan, health insurance, and paid sick leave.

In the 2024 Maryland Legislative Session, lawmakers passed a bill that allowed public library employees state-wide to participate in collective bargaining if they so choose.

UFCW Local 1994 lobbies county and state legislatures on behalf of our members. Our work has helped our library employees secure improved pensions, increase funding for their systems, and create more secure workplaces. We don’t just fight for you; we fight for the libraries too.

ALA Policy

B.9.11 Collective Bargaining (Old Number 54.11)

The American Library Association recognizes the principle of collective bargaining as one of the methods of conducting labor-management relations used by private and public institutions. The Association affirms the right of eligible library employees to organize and bargain collectively with their employers, or to refrain from organizing and bargaining collectively, without fear of reprisal.


Association of College & Research Libraries. Guideline on Collective Bargaining. June 2008.



Committees and Communities within ALA with an interest in unions and collective bargaining

LLAMA/HRS Union Relations for Managers Discussion Group

RUSA AFL-CIO-ALA, Library Service to Labor Groups

ALA-APA Standing Committee on the Salaries and Status of Library Workers

Union Library Workers (Connect community)



ALA-APA Standing Committee on the Salaries and Status of Library Workers. Advocating for Better Salaries Toolkit, 5th edition, April 2014 (PDF). Specifically, pp 40ff.

AFL-CIO, Department for Professional Employees. Library Workers: Facts & Figures, 2014

U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Economic News Release: Union Membership


Bibliography prepared for the AFL-CIO/ALA Joint Committee on Library Service to Labor Groups, 1992

Labor Day Reading List, The Hub, Sept. 3, 2012


Last updated November 21, 2014

“Unions and Collective Bargaining”, American Library Association, November 25, 2014

https://www.ala.org/tools/atoz/unions (Accessed June 7, 2024)

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