Skip to main content

Major legislative wins for Maryland workers – especially in higher ed

State House, Annapolis, MD. Photo credit: Getty.
By Meredith Scalos ·

Thanks to months of hard work and organizing by AFSCME members, expanded collective bargaining rights at Maryland’s community colleges, a unified contract for the University System of Maryland workers, and many other pro-worker bills passed the Maryland General Assembly this year.

In coordinated efforts by AFSCME Council 3 and Council 67, workers across sectors pushed for advances and pro-worker policies that will help move Maryland forward.

It’s in the education sector that these advances are most apparent, with two major bills passing the Maryland House and Senate. First to pass was SB 09 (HB 486), which would bring all of Maryland's universities under one contract – in effect equalizing the outcomes of bargaining with the chancellor and the Board of Regents.

Prior to this, each campus had to bargain individually, creating unequal and unfair outcomes across campuses despite being under one university system. Under this bill, all AFSCME members who work throughout the 12-member University System of Maryland will have a level playing field for bargaining on issues of pay, health and safety provisions, and workplace improvements they did not have before.

“This change will streamline decisions about campus re-opening, vaccination and wages, giving over 6,000 workers a new and stronger voice at the table,” said Patrick Moran, president of Council 3. “Our union will continue to lead the fight for better health and safety precautions and strengthening public services across Maryland. A nurse at the health center on campus should have the same rights and protections as a nurse at the health center in another state facility.”

At  the state’s 16 community colleges, collective bargaining rights will be expanded to over 2,000 workers thanks to SB 746 (HB 894). The bill maintains existing relationships with campuses that previously had certain rights under different legislation but also ensures that no community college employee will be denied the right to collectively bargain for a better workplace.

"After seven years of fighting in Annapolis, workers at all community colleges will finally have the right to have their voices heard and choice to have a union. It is a great day for workers," said Glen Middleton, executive director of Council 67

The bills currently await Gov. Larry Hogan’s signature to take effect.

In addition to these victories, several other anti-worker bills were defeated during the session that ended April 12, including right-to-work legislation that would have significantly reduced worker protections and restricted the ability of unions to protect the voices of working people.

Related Posts