BCFPE Leadership Testify on Behalf of 911 Workers

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March has been a busy month for AFT affiliates in Annapolis. With the 90-day legislative session going strong, many of our unions have appeared virtually or headed to Annapolis to testify on bills that could meaningfully change working conditions and benefits for our public employees. Baltimore County Federation of Public Employees (BCFPE Local 4883) President John Ripley and Area Vice President Kasia Gatchalian testified on two bills that would affect 911 operators in Baltimore county. 

 

BCFPE President John Ripley, Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-17), and BCFPE Area VP Kasia Gatchalian 

The first is Senate Bill 633 (SB633). This bill would positively alter the classification and compensation of 911 operators. It would also modify existing guidelines to the Maryland 9-1-1 Board. Additionally, they testified on Senate Bill 374 (SB374) which would acknowledge that 911 operators diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder by a licensed clinical psychologist or psychiatrist are presumed to have gotten it at work on account of their job. President Ripley testified that 911 call center specialists “are the true first responders” and that adding this presumption in the language will “prevent a delay in thorough treatment.” Area VP Gatchalian, who is a 911 call center specialist in Baltimore county, told the Senate Finance Committee in her testimony that “911 specialists need more than what we’re getting for our mental health.”

Committee Chair Sen. Delores Kelley appeared supportive of both bills but AFT-Maryland will continue to monitor the legislation as it works its way through the Senate and House for passage. 

2022-03-14