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Library of Congress Union Scores Win for Smokers

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo

The union proposed allowing smoking in the northwest alcove, an idea management rejected. Library management also opposed the idea of installing benches, not wanting to spend money to facilitate bad health habits.

Both parties laid out their differences during a Nov. 15 arbitration meeting with arbitrator Mary Jacksteit, the chairwoman of the Federal Service Impasses Panel that is responsible for resolving disputes between federal agencies and unions representing federal employees.

Jacksteit ruled in favor of the union’s proposals, determining that the LOC proposals would ultimately push smokers onto public sidewalks, increasing second-hand smoke exposure.

“Smoking will also be much more visible, and the lack of cigarette and trash receptacles on the sidewalks will lead to littering there,” she wrote, in effect forcing employees to be “public nuisances.”

In response, Osterberg said library management was disappointed it could not implement the full plan and, “as a result won’t be able to provide the full public health protections we’d hoped.”

Schniderman told CQ Roll Call that the guild applauds the decision as a “more common sense and balanced approach.”

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