COLUMBIA, Mo. – Workers at a public library system based in Columbia are voting this week on whether to join a union.

If the union is ratified, employees at the Daniel Boone Regional Library would become the only active public library union in Missouri. They also would join a growing nationwide movement toward unionizing, sparked in part by the coronavirus pandemic.

About 160 of the system’s employees are casting votes Wednesday through Saturday, with results expected on Monday.

Union organizers cite pay, benefits, and safety for pushing the union. Library Executive Director Margaret Conroy says the system offers competitive pay and benefits to its employees in Columbia, Fulton, Ashland, and Holts Summit.

By MARGARET STAFFORD, Associated Press