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Brandeis chapter goes all out to welcome in new members

February 12, 2022

Meanwhile, librarians embroiled in contract campaign with university

For Local 888’s Brandeis librarians, you might say that the work toward gaining a good contract begins with welcoming new members into the fold.
“We’ve worked really hard on new-member onboarding,” said Surella Seelig, a Local 888 librarian at Brandeis University. “We introduce the concept of a union and go through all the ways we’re really there for them. We try to show them they really are part of something.
“We spend an hour to introduce them to the concept of a union,” Seelig added. “If we really make them feel welcome, maybe we’ll find a new activist in the process.”
She said that the Brandeis chapter has created leadership positions specifically for aiding new members. Seelig spoke at a recent member welcome orientation. (To register for such a workshop, go to
The Brandeis chapter has launched a contract campaign with the slogan “Two Won’t Do!” That’s as the university proposes 2 percent pay hikes, despite the area’s skyrocketing housing costs. The chapter has 44 members and is negotiating a three-year contract.
According to a Boston Herald report, Boston may soon surpass San Francisco in terms of housing costs. That would make Boston the second-most expensive U.S. city, after New York.
“Librarians deserve to have fair and transparent wages that, at the very least, keep pace with inflation,” said Seelig, outreach and special projects archivist at Brandeis. “We also deserve to receive raises that reflect … years of dedicated service to the university.”
The 17-year Brandeis worker credits her union for lifting up librarians’ pay over time. Now, however, she says the university is “nickel-and-diming” the librarians in current contract talks. She blamed such behavior by the school for turnover among librarians.
The chapter held a rally in December aimed at gaining support from the wider Brandeis community — including students and the school’s other workers. For more, see
In a previous campaign, the Brandeis librarians enlisted community support to successfully land a contract that meant members gained raises of up to 15 percent over the life of the three-year pact, in part with “market adjustments.” For an in-depth report, see Also: