I've been out of the office, but I have to add my 2 cents to this discussion
on two points.  Re unionization, I am represented by a union which recruited
librarians in the county on the basis of how big a salary increase they had
managed to get for civilian workers in the sheriff's office.  The union has
never done anything for me.  All they do is collect dues.  When I needed
help, they didn't even return my calls and as far as salary negotiations--as
others have pointed out, they aren't interested in wasting their bargaining
clout on one person.

On the other hand, there are certain advantages to being underpaid, at least
if you prefer a poorly paid job to no job at all.  Consider what happened to
nurses.  They were underpaid and there was a shortage, so salaries went way
up.  More nurses entered the field and hospitals decided they couldn't afford
to pay so much, so they found ways to downgrade jobs and hire fewer nurses to
take care of the same number of patients.  Administrations already seem to
think that running a library is something any high school graduate should be
able to do regardless of the number of times we demonstrate our value.  What
makes any of us think that most hospitals wouldn't hire a nonprofessional in
our place if they had to pay us what we are actually worth?

Linda M. Morgan, MLS
ACCMA Library
Oakland CA