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The Voice of the Library of Congress Professional Guild


October 5, 2004

From the economy to job security
to civil service rights to the war in Iraq,
voting is your chance to choose the decision makers and tell them what you want.

Resolution on Resolving the Police Crisis at the Library of Congress

WHEREAS, on February 20, 2003, Public Law 108-7 was enacted providing for a merger of the Library of Congress Police into the United States Capitol Police following recommendations by a General Accounting Office (GAO) study released in July 2002 which concluded that a merger of forces would enhance overall security; and on September 30, 2003, the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act for 2004 (PL 108-83) was enacted eliminating the Library’s authority to hire police officers pending the merger with the Capitol Police; and

WHEREAS, the attrition of police officers at the Library of Congress has reduced its police force to only two-thirds of its authorized strength leading Librarian of Congress Dr. James H. Billington to inform Congress in July 2004 that "the Library has been without an adequate police force for more than a year;" (Congressional Record, July 20, 2004, on H.R. 4816, page H6084); and

WHEREAS, on August 5, 2004, the Library’s Inspector General (IG) issued a report on the Library of Congress Police presenting findings from an investigation with the Police Executive Research Forum of current and former police officials, concluding that the Library’s force does not operate effectively or efficiently, that policies and procedures are incomplete, that management responsibility for oversight, communication, review, updating, and training on policies and procedures is insufficient; and

WHEREAS, for many years the unions at the Library of Congress, including the Fraternal Order of Police, have voiced concerns about ineffective policing and management being so narrowly focused on collection security that the Library’s police force has been nearly written out of the Library’ s evacuation plans (along with the Safety Office) even though our safety depends upon their skillful response to hazards and dangers; and

WHEREAS, despite the fact that Library of Congress police officers are first responders in emergencies, they are not adequately trained or equipped for evacuations and other critical emergency response capabilities necessary for safety and security at the Library; and

WHEREAS, attempts by the House of Representatives in July 2004 to restore hiring authority to the Library will not even alleviate the staffing crisis since new officers require about a year of training and furthermore an increase in force size will not address deficiencies identified in independent studies by the GAO and the Library's IG in leadership, training, equipment, and disaster coordination for the overall security of Capitol Hill; and

WHEREAS, on August 16, 2004, the presidents of all of the Library’s unions signed a letter to four congressional committees who oversee the Library stating that we "as employees of the Library of Congress, who are your neighbors and fellow employees of the Legislative Branch, feel that we have not received equal attention and protection and seek your immediate assistance;" and

WHEREAS, the Library’s dedicated police officers are ready, willing, and capable of accomplishing their critical mission with the right training and leadership; therefore

Be it RESOLVED, That to alleviate the police staffing shortage at the Library immediate action be taken to allow for the temporary detailing of United States Capitol Police to the Library of Congress; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That the Librarian of Congress and all Members of Congress responsible for the protection of the Library of Congress, its staff, its patrons, its collections, and its buildings take action to complete the merger of Library Police with the Capitol Police and provide a seamless and secure environment for everyone who works on Capitol Hill.

Adopted on September 15, 2004 by: The Library of Congress Employees Union , AFSCME Local 2477; The Library of Congress Professional Guild, AFSCME Local 2910; Congressional Research Employees Association, IFPTE Local 75; Library of Congress Labor Committee, Fraternal Order of Police

Why We Support the Merger
By Nan Thompson Ernst

Deputy Librarian Donald Scott designated Sept. 7-14 as "Police Appreciation Week" to recognize the service our police provide and the burdens imposed upon them by staffing shortages and increased security needs. Indeed, Library police have been worked too long under adverse conditions and thanks are long overdue to them. We also say: thanks for helping to protect us, our jobs, and the institution and collections we love.

All four unions at the Library have concurred that the police deserve even more than our appreciation, and this is why we put forward the resolution printed above. We say that the police can best be honored by receiving the support they need to do the job as they would like to do it: at the highest level of policing on Capitol Hill. Yet, this is wishful thinking given current staffing levels and management policies. Management asserts that training for the Library police is adequate and that their participation in emergency procedures is sufficient. And yet, Library police receive only a fraction of the training provided to the U.S. Capitol Police. If training and supervision are adequate and if the police are fully incorporated into the Library’s emergency procedures, then why do have recurring problems in the evacuations and drills?

Union activists for workplace safety have struggled with these problems for so long that we conclude our best hope for safety in an emergency is to have the U.S. Capitol Police take over. Therefore, we support the merger of Library police with Capitol police mandated by Congress but now stalled in committees.

Political Activity of LC Employees

Under the Hatch Act employees of the Executive Branch of the federal government, the Postal Service and the District of Columbia government are limited in what political activities they may engage in. But because the Library of Congress is situated within the Legislative Branch, employees of the Library are exempted from most of the provisions of the Hatch Act and, in fact, have practically unrestricted rights in this area.

In general, Library employees are permitted to participate in a wide range of political activity as long as this participation does not compromise the efficiency or integrity of the employee or the impartiality, efficiency or integrity of the Library. Limitations on political activity relate to interference with official duties and giving the appearance of a conflict of interest.

Library of Congress Regulation (LCR) 2023-7, “Political activity of Library of Congress Employees,” explains the Do's and Don'ts and the Library's Office of the General Counsel (OGC) is available if you need an answer to a specific question. Check out the LCR on the OGC website:

Here's a summary of election Do's and Don'ts.

Library of Congress employees have a profound understanding and respect for our political history, rights and responsibilities. The Guild urges every employee to participate by expressing your opinions and participating in elections.

Voter Registration a Success!
by George Toth

With 2004 being a presidential election year, AFSCME 2910 (the Guild), AFSCME 2477, and CREA agreed that participation in the political process should be increased everywhere. They believed that one of the best means to achieve this goal was to organize a voter registration drive. So all three unions provided volunteers to work the registration table with the Guild being in charge of the material setup for the drive.

The registration itself came in two “waves.” In February, during two consecutive weeks, the union volunteers registered 116 people in the three jurisdictions: the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia. They just finished the second wave in mid-September, when they registered 105 people. Besides the applications completed at the registration table, the volunteers also gave out dozens of blank application forms to those who wanted family members to register. Innumerable times they also provided the telephone numbers to the various County Boards of Elections for persons asking more individualized questions.

This registration drive was such a success that the unions feel that all those who - for whatever reason - didn’t register should be strongly encouraged to register for this important election coming on November 2.

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