2022 Maryland Legislative Session Recap

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The 2022 legislative session posed challenges for legislators and advocates alike. During the session, responses to Covid-19 and its variants meant everyone had to adapt quickly. Thankfully, the state federation was prepared to do so and maintained our strong presence in Annapolis. On the whole, AFT-Maryland, our affiliate locals, and the Maryland labor movement had a solid session. State federation efforts were led by Denise Riley who served as the point person in Annapolis for AFT-Maryland. Members from across the federation volunteered their time and effort to draft written testimony, provide oral testimony in person and remotely, as well as participate in virtual and in-person press conferences, all in lobbying efforts to pass our bills. 

BCFPE President John Ripley, Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-17), and BCFPE AVP Kasia Gatchalian in Annapolis.

9-1-1 Call Center Specialists from the Baltimore County Federation of Public Employees (BCFPE Local 4883) and the City Union of Baltimore (CUB Local 800) will be reclassified as first responders to reflect the critical role they play aiding in public safety. That bill currently awaits Governor Hogan’s signature. 

The Maryland Professional Employees Council (MPEC Local 6197) members saw legislative victories for teachers in corrections as well as for park service associates. While the juvenile education bill awaits the Governor’s signature, the park rangers’ bill was signed into law which will make them first responders. Two bills directly affecting the Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU Local 340) passed during the legislative session. One will establish a task force to study compensation of Baltimore City Board of School Commissioners with an eye toward adding another student member and report back to the General Assembly. The other will provide bonuses for educational support personnel in fiscal years 2023 and 2024. Both bills await the Governor’s signature.

State employees who work as Maryland Transit Administration police sergeants and supervisors will now have collective bargaining rights! After a hard-fought battle during the session, which included a veto by Gov. Hogan, AFT-Maryland and the Maryland Classified Employees Association (MCEA Local 1935) were able to pass legislation granting collective bargaining rights for these workers. 

Healthcare professionals in AFT Healthcare-Maryland (AFTHCMD Local 5197) won legislative victories on two Covid-19 related pieces of legislation. One allows retirees who temporarily return to work on the front lines during the pandemic to continue to receive their pension and salary. The other extends the sunset on Covid-19 related death benefits. Both pieces of legislation are waiting on Governor Hogan’s signature. 

AFT-Maryland does a lot of work for locals during the legislative session, but the state federation also supports legislation that would affect the entire labor movement. Our efforts helped pass a bill to allow for union dues deduction on state income taxes. We were also on the front lines fighting to pass paid sick leave. These bills will affect all working Marylanders. State federation efforts also ensured that anti-union legislation would not pass. Our work meant that bills that supported right-to-work, public dollars for private education vouchers, and the removal of worker protections from the Maryland State Department of Education all failed.