AFT-Maryland at Workers First Caravan

The challenges of COVID-19 have altered a number of normal routines and activities. The need to alter isn’t the same as canceling however, and unions have demonstrated that better than perhaps anyone. Ordinarily, if there was important legislation that affected union households, union activists would flood Capitol Hill to agitate for their issues. The mandates for social distancing created by the ongoing global pandemic meant that labor had to be creative in how they lobbied; and creative labor was with a mass worker caravan circling through downtown Washington, DC and the U.S. Capitol complex.

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Statement on the Deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd

The past week and a half has been perhaps the most challenging time for the United States in the 21st century. The high profile deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd (two of which we witnessed the heartbreaking video) has awakened a deep sense of unequal treatment of Black Americans by police and white vigilantes. This has led to protests and rebellions across the country where a number of police departments have responded brutally to journalists and protesters ironically protesting police brutality.

The wake of this has brought on rebellions and uprisings reminiscent of the long hot summer of 1968. Many historians direct our attention to the race riots of 1919 as a more apt comparison. Locally, we don't even have to go that far back. We vividly remember the 2015 uprisings in response to the death of Freddie Gray in police custody. Unequal treatment of Black people by law enforcement is abhorrent and must end if this nation is to live up to the full promise of its words. Dr. King reminds us that "a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it that America has failed to hear?"

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AFT-Maryland Partners with National Federation for PPE

Public employees make up many of the essential workers throughout Maryland working on the front lines during this pandemic. They continue to show up and do their jobs to help cities, counties, and the state maintain some semblance of normalcy during this difficult and unusual time. Just because someone is a hero at work, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be well protected.

Tell your Senators: Don't Forfeit Our Future

Across the state, Marylanders have made significant sacrifices in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic. As public employees, health care professionals, and education professionals, you know how vital and essential the public sector is to Maryland.

AFT-Maryland List of Public Employee Needs for Maryland to Reopen

AFT-Maryland sent the attached letter to Governor Hogan, Baltimore City Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young, Baltimore County Executive John Olszeski Jr., and the Maryland General Assembly COVID-19 Workgroup, listing important needs for public worker safety as the state begins to reopen. Key points from the letter include:

  • Gov. Hogan's COVID-19 Recovery Team must include voices from state and local public health workers, public school teachers and paraprofessionals, and non-healthcare related essential public employees. 
  • The state, counties, and local municipalities must incorporate more aggressive benchmarks for testing and contact tracing.
  • Maryland Occupational Safety and Health (MOSH) must establish enforceable temporary emergency workplace infectious disease standards.

Click here or on the image to the right for a copy of the letter.

AFT-Maryland is a state federation of public employee labor unions representing more than 15,000 workers across the state of Maryland in a number of professions. Our members include education professionals and health care professionals in addition to as a host of state employees and public employees in Baltimore city and county.

 

Maryland Unsung Heroes On The Front Line

Last week the nation celebrated public employees. Locally, AFT-Maryland is shining the spotlight on members just like yourself, that are making sacrifices to ensure everything from public health care, to education, to state services continue with some semblance of normalcy. Take a moment and learn about members from across the state federation.