The busiest travel holiday of the year is also the one centered most on family and friends. Yes, the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday are not as wholesome or simple as the narrative many of us learned in elementary school, but the beauty of customs and traditions is that a society can remake the tradition into whatever it sees fit. For so many of us, Thanksgiving is more than a story about early colonial settlers, but rather a moment to pause in gratitude and appreciation with those who we hold most dearly.
As a state federation we have so much to be thankful for collectively...
The hard right members of the US House of Representatives are calling for a government shutdown if they do not receive the senseless funding cuts they demand, including an 80% reduction in public education Title I funding, which would highly impact low-income students.
The cuts could lead to a nationwide reduction of 220,000 teachers, a catastrophic outcome for our nation’s students at a time when schools are already dealing with an educator shortage.
Have you heard of Maryland's FAMLI act? The Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) program is a new program created by the state legislature in 2022 and updated in the 2023 legislative session that grants eligible employees in Maryland the right to 12 weeks paid leave to care for a family member, or for that employee to take leave for their own serious medical condition. Maryland joins 10 other states—California, New York, Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia—that offer some sort of paid, long-term family leave to workers to help care for a worker’s family member.
AFT-Maryland knows all too well the pressure public employees are under. The state federation represents a broad coalition of workers employed by state and local governments so the plight of labor siblings employed by the federal government, though different, is familiar. That’s why it was important for the state federation to stand in solidarity with American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) members who work at the Social Security Administration (SSA) as they rallied to address current working conditions and address the ongoing public service crisis. The crisis centers around low staffing levels resulting in an inordinate amount of work for remaining SSA employees. Moreover, the union is back at the bargaining table and is looking to provide fair working conditions for existing employees while creating a healthy working climate for new hires.
AFT-Maryland Community Engagement Director Jeffery Johnson is a consistent advocate for solidarity among workers and often represents AFT-Maryland at events such as these. He said the show of solidarity was about more than just standing beside federal government employees. CLICK TO READ > > >
The pandemic caused a shift in the way quite a bit of legislative business was handled. Some of those changes have outlived the social distancing guidance that dictated how we did business. That includes virtual testimony, zoom meetings, and live streaming of in-person events. One event that returned with a force as strong as it was pre-pandemic was the Metro Baltimore Council AFL-CIO labor rally, held on Lawyers Mall in front of the Maryland State House in Annapolis. The annual event is a show of solidarity among labor as unions collectively flex their strength and call on state legislators to pass bills that support working people and their families. As AFT-Maryland President Kenya Campbell reminded the audience “labor power definitely works.” Click for more photos and to read > > >
United States service members accept a call to something greater than the individual. They recognize and respect the commitment necessary to unify and achieve a goal that enriches not only themselves but the entire collection of people they represent. As public employees we perform uniquely different work, but we also know about taking on a professional responsibility of service to the greater community. We understand the ideas and importance of shared responsibility, sacrifice, and commitment. We know how interdependent our state and local government institutions are, and only with our professionalism and class do we continue to make Maryland work.