AFTHCMD Members Lobby in Annapolis

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The union’s legislative arm is strongest when members are the advocates lobbying for themselves. Legislators listen with a closer ear and a more compassionate heart when public employees share their experiences from their worksites. Members of AFT Healthcare-Maryland did just that when they took to Annapolis to lobby their legislators on important legislation that would positively affect the pay of a number of state health care professionals.

One piece of legislation is for Pay Rates and Staffing Requirements (HB1474/SB693). The union is grateful that state Sen. Guy Guzzone, who is the chair of the Senate Budget and Taxation committee, is a sponsor of this piece of legislation. The bill would make sure that those employees who are not receiving a forensic pay premium at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital, Eastern Shore Hospital, Finan Center, Potomac Center, Spring Grove, and Springfield will benefit from the establishment of a forensic pay differential for staff who work in direct contact with forensic patients.

Another piece of legislation is a Pay Equity bill (HB1525/SB639). Allies in the General Assembly supporting this bill include Dels. Pat Young, Gabe Acevero, Carol Krimm, Mark Korman and Jared Solomon. This bill mandates the presence of corrections trained security personnel, proportionate to the level number of patients (establishes a ratio, 3-1 in max security settings and 12-1 in minimum security settings) as well as gives pay increases to charge nurses commensurate with pay increases to RNs.

Organizers Robin Raynor and Rose Wertz have been working closely with AFSCME staff to organize members to go to Annapolis and continue to press legislators to pass legislation that would get the affected state health care employees the raises they deserve. Members described good meetings with their legislators and found elected officials excited to hear from them. Wertz stressed that it’s important for politicians to hear from members themselves, rather than from AFT-Maryland or AFT Healthcare-Maryland staffers.