Employment & Work Stories

Library bias suit decision upheld

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Reports A federal appeals court has confirmed that officials with the library system for Atlanta and Fulton County made a $17 million mistake by discriminating against seven white librarians.
An opinion filed Friday in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's ruling against the library. The opinion, based on a unanimous decision by a three-judge panel, said officials knew it was illegal to consider race in personnel decisions, yet they transferred the women to lesser jobs anyway because of the color of their skin.

Is information overload hurting productivity?

The Sydney Morning Herald has This Article on information overload. Experts say information overload is a serious problem in many companies, adding to stress levels and resulting in a downturn in productivity (a report from Proudfoot Consulting last year found IT-related problems - such as information overload - were responsible for 8 per cent of lost time).
They outline seven skills all knowledge workers need to help counter the problem of information overload

Staff threat to new hours for libraries

One Out Of Edinburgh says plans to open libraries across Edinburgh every Saturday and Sunday afternoon for the first time could be scuppered by staff reluctant to give up their weekends.
The city council, which has pledged to spend around £250,000 annually making it a permanent move, is being warned some librarians would rather quit than work extra hours.

Theories of Service - My Life in Retail

Michael McGrorty writes "Yesterday I was sitting at the reference desk, enjoying a brief moment of silence between patrons when it the entire meaning of the library business was revealed to me. At precisely eleven-thirty on a spring morning the oyster came open and I realized my place. And it was all because of a fellow named Donald.

Donald arrived at the tail end of the morning, dressed in a flannel shirt buttoned to the neck and corduroy pants without a belt. His face wore a deep frown, the sort which originates in a bad dream that continues into daylight, and the tumult of his hair showed that he had left home without consulting a mirror. He approached the desk like a man delivering a summons.

"I want to sue an attorney," he rasped, in a voice that sounded like he'd been shouting at somebody pretty recently. -- Read More

Proposed changes to Fair Labor Standards Act

Rochelle Hartman writes "The Department of Labor is proposing changes to the creaky Fair Labor Standards Act, passed in 1938. The plan would make 1.3 million additional low-wage workers eligible for extra pay for any work beyond 40 hours. Current, higher-paid recipients would be removed from eligibility.

'Organized labor supports some change, particularly allowing more low-paid workers to be eligible for overtime. But they fear the net effect could be that more workers would lose overtime pay because of job-classification changes,' reports Cindy Skrzycki in the Washington Post. The story here. Once the proposal is formally introduced, there will be a 90-day comment period, available, I assume on the Department of Labor website

I've been working on a story about this with a library law attorney, wanting to investigate what the FLSA means to non-management, public "professional" librarians. What I've learned so far is that the Department of Labor does not consider MLS librarians professionals because they are not treated as such by their managers, their municipalities, and the public. Shouldn't have been news to me, but it did make me cranky. Currently, MLSs' "non-professional" status makes them largely and legally non-exempt (eligible), but not sure how the new proposal will affect this.

"

UBC strikers defy back-to-work order

News From Canada that says Striking teaching assistants, librarians and clerical workers at the University of British Columbia ignored back-to-work legislation Thursday, picketing all but one entrance to the campus.

Members of the Canadian Union of Public Employees were ordered back to work when the B.C. Liberal government rushed through a law Wednesday that imposed a 20-day cooling-off period on their labour dispute with the university.

USNews: Librarians are the hot ticket

Jen Young spotted This USNews.com Article on finding a job in this rough market that says Librarians are the hot ticket, with a range of employers from rural elementary schools to top-notch research universities hunting for them.
They say first lady, and former librarian, Laura Bush announced last month that the president's 2004 budget will include $20 million to recruit and train the next generation of librarians. None of the money, however, will go to increase salaries, which average about $49,800 annually.

State library staff walk out

A Short Article from Australia says the staff at the State Library of Victoria plan to stage weekly walkouts until their bitter pay dispute is resolved.

The library's 400 staff will walk out at noon on Wednesday to march on the Melbourne office of Premier Steve Bracks.
The CPSU claims state library staff are paid considerably less than their counterparts in libraries run by local councils, universities and schools.

Library threat to sue striking staff

Charles Davis passed along
This One from Australia where the State Library of Victoria has threatened to sue employees who took part in a protest
rally during a two-day strike last week.

In a circular from management, staff were warned they could be sued or disciplined for taking
part in the protest outside the library last Tuesday.


\"Those who chose to participate are not immune from legal or disciplinary action if they are
involved in restricting or obstructing free entry into the library,\" the circular said.

Bell, Bowers battle it out as Atlanta library fights bias case

The Atlanta Journal Is Reporting on the battle over a multimillion-dollar jury verdict against the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System.
Seven white women who won a $23.4 million jury verdict a year ago against the library, its director and several board members. U.S. District Judge Beverly Martin in Atlanta later reduced the award to $16.8 million -- $3.5 million in compensatory damages and $13.3 million in punitive damages.
It could be several weeks, even months, before the appeals court issues its decision.

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