Salinas Library Workers Speak Up for Bilingual Services

City of Salinas LibrariesSEIU Local 521 library workers in Salinas joined with community members to demand more support for the community’s bilingual library programs on April 14, which was National Library Worker’s Day.

Every day, a growing number of families in Salinas depend on bilingual library services to make education, recreation and development more accessible. City leaders heard from children and parents about programs like the Homework Center at the Cesar Chavez Library, which keeps kids interested and engaged in after-school learning.

City of Salinas LibrariesWith the advocacy of members and supporters, the City of Salinas was reminded that public services must reflect the communities they serve, and that diversity must be appreciated.

Back in 2012, five members–all bilingual library workers, were hired with the explicit requirement of bilingual fluency in Spanish and English languages. They expected to receive “bilingual pay”– additional pay for employees required to use their skills in a second language on the job. Although our members assist the community everyday in their common native tongue, none have received the bilingual pay they deserve, while fourteen other equally qualified bilingual library workers do.

After three years of injustice, the workers demanded fair pay for their services with strong community support, and urged the City Council to support creating more permanent positions in our libraries to expand bilingual services throughout the community.

 

For more information on the action, contact Mark Weirick at mark.weirick@seiu521.org.

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