June 28, 2021
Dear Denver Public Library Management,
We, Denver Public Library workers, are announcing that we have worked together to form a union. At this time, we are not pursuing a collective bargaining contract. Instead, we are operating as an open, wall-to-wall union, and we ask you to recognize us as Denver Public Library Workers United.
The last eighteen months have been extraordinarily difficult. Between the pandemic, the pervasive economic insecurity, the social reckoning following George Floyd’s murder and other racist violence, and the growing political violence following the 2020 election, this has been a time marked by cumulative stress. We have all made sacrifices to continue serving our Denver community, especially our frontline and support staff.
All of those national and local events hit us at home, and have clarified the need for a strong and united voice for the workers of our library. Rising income inequality, an escalating housing crisis, racial inequity in the workplace; these are not abstract issues for us but our lived experiences, and they will not disappear even as pandemic recovery continues. These issues can only be solved with an empowered workforce, which we will use to affect positive change. We all love Denver Public Library and are proud to work here. Without a strong union we will only continue to see fewer and fewer workplace protections for ourselves and our coworkers, which will in turn affect the communities that rely on us.
Our unionization is not intended in a spirit of attack. We see the hard work you do, and recognize the pressures and limitations you must operate within as you advocate for us and for the library. This is not an indictment of your leadership. We all care deeply about our communities, our coworkers, and a thriving library. DPLWU offers a creative opportunity to work together to address our organization’s issues and build power as library advocates within the city. As DPL struggles with a culture where many are fearful of giving and receiving feedback, DPLWU provides a powerful channel for authentic feedback that cuts across job roles and hierarchies. We view this as a chance to turn DPL’s proudly innovative spirit inward to become an innovative workplace as well.
A strong voice for workers will increase and improve the communication between upper management and frontline workers, not inhibit it; it will foster the diverse, inclusive, equitable, accountable, and safe workplace environment we know management is trying so hard to create. We are here to promote positive change for everyone. And with a voice for all, we can achieve our strong community where everyone thrives. We look forward to working together to improve DPL for all of us.
Denver Public Library Workers United
Juan Ramirez Anzures
Misuk Laura Young
Taylor Charron Schwab