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Aug 21, 2015 8:08 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Westhampton Free Library Employees Vote To Unionize

Aug 25, 2015 4:00 PM

The employees of the Westhampton Free Library voted in favor of unionization on Friday.

Library Director Danielle Waskiewicz said in an email Friday night that a majority of her staff voted to form a chapter of the New York State United Teachers union. She said 31 employees voted in favor of unionizing, three voted against it, and two abstained.

“We respect their decision and look forward to engaging in good-faith negotiations with the union to reach a fair contract,” Ms. Waskiewicz wrote. “As always, we will continue to provide the outstanding library services that our residents expect and deserve.”

Ms. Waskiewicz said union representation will be in effect within the next two weeks.

She also noted that the union would not represent all 57 of the library’s current employees, explaining that managers, department heads and temps would not be eligible to join. In total, three dozen employees are expected to be represented by the union.

The push for unionization came weeks after Sabina Trager, a former clerk and administrative assistant of the Westhampton Beach library, was fired for allegedly breaching the library’s confidentiality policy—an allegation that Ms. Trager denies. The Westhampton Beach resident contends that she was let go because she refused to sign a petition for two Village Board candidates who were being supported by longtime Library Board President Joan Levan. Ms. Levan denies the allegation, insisting that Ms. Trager was dismissed after she violated protocol.

Ms. Trager, who was a part-time library employee for three and a half years, was let go on June 23, four days after Brian Tymann and Rob Rubio—the Westhampton Beach Village Board candidates backed by Ms. Levan—won election to the five-member board.

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Joan must be happy this morning
By westhamptonboy (227), Westhampton on Aug 22, 15 10:10 AM
1 member liked this comment
I am in favor of unions. It helps the worker to save for retirement. Most cases in the workers do not know how to save for the future. This is what happened back in the nineteen twenties: that resulting disaster is what made the leaders of the time in this country pass the Social Security Act.
Living in Florida in the midst of what must be the biggest retirement community in the USA, the Villages, I wonder what will become of these communities. Most everyone I meet has Social Security and ...more
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Aug 22, 15 10:58 AM
Yeah it's grand. Taxpayers are paying the pensions of these people, because the plans are nearly insolvent. Let people get a 401k like everyone else not this guaranteed taxpayer nonsense.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 22, 15 8:06 PM
Young man you have no idea what it is like yo work for 36 years being told at frequent intervals that the boss could not afford to give a substantial raise but was setting up a pension fund for employees.
Now we expect the check in the mail. ans you are saying taxpayers are paying my pension? And smarty just with what can I start a 401k plan now?
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Aug 24, 15 10:46 AM
1 member liked this comment
I think people are confusing unions with Civil Service. In speaking to library employees I learned that only full time employees (a very small percent of the union members) already have pensions and they are 401k pensions and apparently the union has already told the employees that it is very unlikely that that situation will change.
By the other one (8), Westhampton Beach on Aug 22, 15 8:59 PM
1 member liked this comment
“THIS IS BULL SHIT”

yes, that was the response from joan levan, president of the board of trustees of the westhampton beach library when she was accused of firing sabina trager for politically motivated reasons and after not providing mrs trager with any paper work, no documentation or an opportunity to discuss why she was being fired. ms. Levans response was “iam not answering these questions”. And “I think this is a joke”. Also, ms. Levan said “i ...more
By Peter Zegler (9), Westhampton Beach on Aug 23, 15 8:05 PM
Congratulations ! employees of the westhampton beach public library. your ability to rally, take a completely unethical working situation, vote yourself a now established union that will have "equal" rights is a testament to your believing in what is right. good "always" triumphs over evil..
now, first things first....CLEAN HOUSE !...starting at the TOP !..that's where all the GARBAGE is anyway.
By Peter Zegler (9), Westhampton Beach on Aug 23, 15 8:15 PM
From conversations with various library employees they do want the board to be an elected one but they have no control over that. It is you, the public, who must come forward and insist that the change be made. It may not be easy but Sag Harbor’s residents were able to get their John Jermain library board to change from appointed to elected so it can be done.
By the other one (8), Westhampton Beach on Aug 24, 15 10:25 AM
Good luck to the staff. They deserve a fair compensation for all the work they do.
By Infoseeker (280), Hampton Bays on Aug 24, 15 8:12 AM
2 members liked this comment
Good luck to taxpayer's you have been screwed yet again. Where does this extra money come from? Does anyone care?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 24, 15 10:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
Chief 1 You are the chief one of what? nonsense i guess! If you can't give a little more in taxes for Library workers then why are you living in the East End? Ha Ha!
You want the best then you have to pay for it, you want cheap then you go someplace else!
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Aug 25, 15 12:07 PM
Wonder if someone on these comments has ever been in a union. Hence when you are in a union you pay union dues and pay into your retirement. So once again someone complaining without doing the digging again.
By islander6615 (133), hampton bays on Aug 25, 15 9:27 AM
1 member liked this comment
Actually Islander, the article states that they voted to enter the Teachers Union which has extremely generous employer paid benefits with many teachers in the area making over 100K per year for 180 days work. Will the librarians, whom I assume work normal work years, want their pay prorated to match the daily take of the teachers pushing their pay closer to 140K? In the event of a layoff will deadwood be protected while more talented and/or dedicated people be laid off due to seniority? While unions ...more
By bird (828), Sag Harbor on Aug 25, 15 10:46 AM
Yes yes, Bub. but by my message you might think I'm from Springs, not so any more. :)
By summertime (589), summerfield fl on Aug 25, 15 12:11 PM
Really that's the way a union works just pay dues? Then explain why so many unions are out of money looking for taxpayers to pay the bill?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 27, 15 10:41 AM
100k for 180 days of work is not that extreme considering the very high cost of living on the East End of Long Island. I should know, my mother is one of those hardworking teachers you speak of. Even with that large salary you speak of, trust me when I say after government, NYS, local taxes, and don't forget those property taxes, 100k suddenly doesn't seem like much.
By haguekatherine (2), Hampton Bays on Sep 1, 15 10:10 PM
DOES ANYONE UNDERSTAND THAT WERE LIVING IN COUNTRY OF RIGHTS, WORKERS RIGHTS. REMEMBER WHAT RIGHTS WORKERS HAD IN THE EARLY 1900 ?..EXACTLY, ZERO. DEPLORABLE CONDITIONS, NO OVER TIME PAY, NO BREAKS, NO HEALTH INSURANCE, AND IF FIRED NO RECOURSE OR EXPLANATION DUE EITHER. THIS NOT ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE BUT RIGHTS. NOT $. "ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS ABSOLUTELY".
By Peter Zegler (9), Westhampton Beach on Aug 26, 15 5:29 PM
2 members liked this comment
Actually Peter, from the taxpayers side of things it's completely about money...
By bird (828), Sag Harbor on Aug 27, 15 12:16 PM
good morning whom ever you are and thank you for your comment regarding my post. it is about rights. but , lets say that just for today you go to work and your terminated with out any recourse. simply gather your belongings and leave. now, is it about $ ?..
By Peter Zegler (9), Westhampton Beach on Sep 2, 15 7:10 AM
1 member liked this comment
Unions were formed to protect people in dangerous low paying situations. They were not intended for paying 130k for checking in books. Even Roosevelt was against municipal unions. Please list the deplorable conditions at the air conditioned Library.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 27, 15 10:38 AM
Please educate yourself before commenting, on salaries of WHB Free Library clerks.
By KeithKeegan (1), on Aug 31, 15 6:35 AM
1 member liked this comment
Chief1, your comment shows how little you know about the workings of a library. Librarians with master's degrees rarely are checking books in or out nor shelving. They are teaching classes, helping patrons find jobs, preparing programs for all age levels, creating pamphlets with instructions, continuouslylearning and teaching how to use the latest databases and technological devices. Not sitting there saying, "I'm sorry, but your book is late". After awhile, pulling water from a stone gets dry and ...more
By Infoseeker (280), Hampton Bays on Aug 29, 15 8:46 AM
2 members liked this comment
Lady its a library not a research lab.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Aug 29, 15 7:10 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Peter Zegler (9), Westhampton Beach on Sep 2, 15 7:12 AM