Category Archives: legal

Getting close to an agreement with our union

Here’s an update from our human resources director in the documents for the next meeting  tomorrow in Amanada Park:

  • Timberland and AFSCME worked out a compromise on the issue of Union security — the last issue to be negotiated. All employees will be allowed a one-time option to be grandfathered out of the Union. After that, Union membership will be a term and condition of employment.
  • Results of the Union vote on ratification should be announced soon. If the Union ratifies the contract, it will be presented to the Board of Trustees for approval. Contract negotiations for the supervisor unit and for 2012 on insurance benefits and wages should begin soon.
Here are the results from the union (posted on their website):
The Base Chapter contract has been ratified with an OVERWHELMING
97.7% YES vote!! This is a historic vote of confidence in our Negotiating team and in AFSCME and signifies a watermark change in labor relations between Timberland Regional Library and its union workers.

I’m glad we’re getting to the close of this nearly two year long process. We’ve been through months of negotiation, an unfair labor practice, and I think we came down to a fairly decent agreement.

I’m especially glad that the issue of union security was settled. This is the union shop debate.  And, when it comes down to it, I’m a union shop person.

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Filed under legal, Meeting reports, What Timberland is doing

New email address (and public records thoughts)

We recently did away with trustees using our personal email addresses for library work. So, from now on, please email me at my new Timberland account: eoconnell (at) trlib (dot) org.

For me, the reasoning for requesting a email account based on a Timberland server was my own privacy. As we’ve seen in the Shoreline case, what is a public record is blurred when records become digital.

When I started as a trustee, I started using a different computer, separate blog, twitter and facebook account than for my personal or work use. I do this so I can be certain that nothing not Timberland related can ever be considered a public record. On the flip side, I can be sure that everything Timberland related can be properly archived and easily found.

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Filed under General stuff, legal

Internet filtering: Bradburn et al v. North Central Regional Library District

The Washington State Supreme Court released a decision yesterday that takes the issues of internet filtering on library patron computers and internet access a step forward. The state supreme court was asked by the federal district court to decide what standard the state constitution held on whether a filter could be used on all public library internet access and not be disabled for an adult patron.

Yesterday, the state court seemed to go beyond a federal Supreme Court decision and said that filtered access all the time for all patrons is constitutional. There’s enough analysis on the general case in other places (here and here), so I won’t repeat what other folks have said.

I just have two notes to add:

1. This isn’t a settled question. The same case the state court decided on yesterday is still being processed by the federal courts. Here is the Justia entry for the case. The state Supreme Court simply ruled on a state constitutional question requested by the federal court. It is very possible that the federal courts might say that internet filtering is only o.k. when an adult patron can request that it be turned off.

2. The Timberland Regional Library and North Central and different enough that it probably matters. For one, our internet access policy is different than the North Central’s. All internet terminals and access in TRL libraries are filtered. But, an adult can request that a filtered be turned off.

The NCRL’s policy goes much further and while it spells out a general filtering policy to start with, it goes further and says that the filter will not be turned off for any patron, adult or otherwise. This is even true of the filter prevents an adult patron from viewing constitutionally protected material if it falls within a certrain category (pornography or gambling for example).

Here are TRL’s policies around internet use (these are all pdfs):

Here is the NCRL’s internet policy.

Also, I think its also important to note the physical differences between our two library systems. NCRL is pretty much made up entirely of small, rural libraries, the largest of which is just over 2,000 square feet which have an average size about 3,000 square feet, and the largest of which (only two this size) 12,000 square feet. Most have one library terminal and about half act as defacto school libraries. I haven’t been to a NCRL branch, but I can assume that the opportunities for private use of the internet is scant.

While there are certainly branches in TRL that are much like the typical NCRL branch, we also have large urban branches that employ privacy screens on computers.

Here are some resources on the Bradburn case:
The decision, a concurrence and a dissent
Watch/listen to the oral arguments at TVW
Here are all of the briefs filed in the Supreme Court
And, here is the docket for the federal case still being considered.

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Filed under legal, policies