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Baltimore City

Pratt library employees vote to unionize, latest in string of organization efforts among area cultural institutions

The Enoch Pratt Free Library-Govans Branch on Bellona Avenue in Baltimore is pictured on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2022. The library is temporarily closed. (Taneen Momeni/The Baltimore Banner via AP)

In the latest in a wave of successful organization efforts, workers at the Enoch Pratt Free Library have voted to unionize, according to the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.

By a 218-12 vote on Friday, workers at the Baltimore library organized as Pratt Workers United, which will bargain on behalf of about 330 employees at the system’s 22 branches.

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The vote comes about ten months after their counterparts in Baltimore County unionized, joining the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. Similarly, in July, workers at the Baltimore Museum of Art opted to join AFSCME,

The Pratt employees said in June they wanted to unionize for better wages, a safer work environment, more consistency in hiring and promotions, according to AFSCME.

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Throughout the organizing process, workers received an incredible showing of support from local community members, businesses and library workers throughout the country. A community letter of support posted on PWU’s website has garnered over 700 signatures to date.

Jerome Owens, a facilities worker at the Orleans Street branch, said in a statement released by AFSCME that he was overjoyed.

“Now that we have our union, we’ll be ready to stand up for ourselves and for each other,” Owens said. “We can do so much more when we work together as a team than we can on our own.”

Area retailers from Starbucks to Apple to MOM’s Organic Market have also unionized recently.


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