06-06-2011—At 1:30pm on June 2nd, 2011, Eugene McElroy created a record and then pushed a button, scanning the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between The Township of Bloomfield, Essex County, New Jersey and the Bloomfield Maintenance Employees Welfare Association, January 1, 1996 through December 31, 1997. This was the last of over 7,000 public sector collective bargaining agreements documented and scanned by the staff of the James B. Carey Library, School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR), as part of the New Jersey Public Employment Relations Commission (PERC) Digitization Project. In a few weeks, any person-- researcher, unionist, attorney, citizen of Bloomfield--will be able to read the Bloomfield CBA on the PERC website.
The PERC digitization project was started in 2006 under Constance Finlay, former director of the Carey Library. When Constance arrived at SMLR in 2002, the library was lined with rows of filing cabinets filled with labor agreements negotiated between New Jersey towns, counties, school boards and labor unions representing police, teachers, maintenance workers, bookkeepers, etc. As the labor relations library of New Jersey, it was our responsibility to make these agreements available to the public. Today, most public sector labor agreements are sent directly to PERC though the Internet, although the library occasionally still receives a paper one.
Constance and Ira Mintz, of PERC developed the digitization project, and Eugene has been responsible for its implementation. This was not just a matter of scanning papers. For each agreement, Eugene created a metadata record so it could be searched in the PERC database. Marina Malysheva, our part-time graduate student worker who specializes in digital projects, helped Eugene scan the 7,000 agreements. The scanning is not entirely over, we will still need to occasionally add a current print agreement, but we are very happy that when someone calls asking for a New Jersey public sector labor contract, we can send them to the PERC website and they can read it immediately.
Donna L. Schulman, Librarian
Eugene McElroy, Library Associate
James B. Carey Library
School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey