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Upper Arlington Public Library Workers Win Union Election

May 13, 2024
Contact: Neil Bhaerman, 412-266-4899,

Upper Arlington Public Library Workers Win Union Election 

UAPL becomes the fourth Central Ohio library system to unionize since 2021, despite management’s anti-union campaign.

UPPER ARLINGTON, OH — Today, a strong majority of staff (79%) at Upper Arlington Public Library (UAPL) voted to form their union, Upper Arlington Public Library United Staff (UAPLUS), in a secret ballot election administered by Ohio’s State Employment Relations Board. The new union, which includes around 90 librarians and library workers, is the fourth group of Central Ohio library workers to successfully organize with the Ohio Federation of Teachers since 2021.

“My coworkers and I voted to form our union because we want our library to thrive and that’s only possible if library workers are treated with respect, compensated fairly, and have a voice in decisions that affect our work,” said Caitlin O’Sullivan, a Cataloger at Tremont Library. “We’re excited to start the contract negotiations process by surveying all members to democratically decide what issues we’ll prioritize at the bargaining table.”

UAPLUS was organized in affiliation with the Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT), who represent nearly 20,000 active and retired public school teachers, charter school teachers, school support staff, higher education faculty and staff, library workers and social work professionals in Ohio. They join librarians and library workers from Worthington Libraries, Grandview Heights Public Library, and Pickerington Public Library who have all joined OFT since 2021. 

In contrast to the union campaigns at Worthington, Grandview Heights, and Pickerington, library workers in Upper Arlington were subjected to a barrage of anti-union videos from their Director, and library patrons received a misleading email intended to undermine public support for the union. One library patron called this “a direct misuse of taxpayer-funded resources to push the board’s one-sided narrative and exert undue public pressure on the staff they claim to respect.” (See the fourth letter to the editor at this link.) 

“Despite heavy-handed anti-union videos from management, UAPL workers voted to form their union so they can advocate for the pay and benefits they deserve and for the world class library resources and services their patrons deserve,” said Melissa Cropper, President of the Ohio Federation of Teachers. “Our members across Ohio – in public libraries, K-12 schools, higher education, and social service agencies – are excited to welcome Upper Arlington Public Library workers into our union.” 

UAPL workers went public with their union in January when they presented management with signed union cards from approximately 70% of eligible workers and asked for voluntary recognition of their union. The union election was scheduled after the library’s administration rejected the request for voluntary recognition.

“We’re disappointed that our Board and Director declined to voluntarily recognize our union, refused to remain neutral during our union election, wasted library resources trying to influence our vote, and alienated our library patrons by sending anti-union propaganda to our email list,” said Jane Federer, a Public Services Associate at Tremont Library. “This was our decision to make and now that our election is over, we hope that our administration respects the result and bargains with us in good faith without delay.”


The Ohio Federation of Teachers (OFT) is a state federation of 60 local unions of active and retired public school teachers and staff, charter school teachers and staff, higher education faculty and staff, social workers, library workers, and public employees. OFT works to advance quality public education, intellectual freedom, and a voice in the workplace for Ohio’s education & public service professionals. OFT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers. 


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