For the first time in four years, Baltimore welcomed back Artscape, but Mother Nature had other plans for the weekend. What was planned as a weekend full of art and culture that welcomed many from across the Baltimore area, became a one-day cultural event with a largely washed-out weekend due to heavy rains and threatening winds from Tropical Storm Ophelia. Despite not being able to enjoy the entire weekend of celebrating the arts, AFT-Maryland was present on day one of the cultural festival and distributed hundreds of books as a part of our ongoing partnership with Reading Opens the World.
The Baltimore metropolitan area’s water governance may take on a new form. What that means for City Union of Baltimore, Local 800 (CUB) members who work diligently to service the water and wastewater infrastructure is yet to be determined. However, CUB joined forces with a coalition of advocacy groups to hold a press conference demanding greater transparency of the Baltimore Regional Water Task Force, a body that was authorized by state elected officials during the 2023 legislative session. The coalition featured environmental, racial, and economic justice advocates including representatives from Food and Water Watch, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and Maryland Volunteer Lawyer Services.
The AFT has always been a solutions-driven union, and our new campaign, launched during TEACH on July 21, proves it once again with a fresh, practical approach to strengthening public education. As AFT President Randi Weingarten pointed out during her keynote speech, the $5 million, yearlong campaign, “Real Solutions for Kids and Communities,” stands up against attacks on public schools and offers real-world solutions to build up, rather than break down, our communities.
The race to the end of Maryland’s Legislative session is in full speed, but that hasn’t stopped AFT-Maryland from pushing for expanded collective bargaining for higher education workers at Maryland public institutions. The bill that would do that (HB275/SB274) is held up in the Senate Finance Committee, as is HB65, a bill granting collective bargaining to Maryland public library workers. The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) collaborated with AFT-Maryland for a joint press conference urging the Senate Finance Committee to move those bills out of committee so public employees in libraries and state higher education institutions can have the right to choose collective bargaining.
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Faculty at Frederick Community College have formed a new union through United Academics of Maryland and AFT-Maryland, and are preparing to negotiate their first contract. Union members and supporters gathered to cheer on the bargaining team as they head into negotiations with the administration. The union is supported by a diverse group of faculty members who are united in their goal of improving working conditions for all.
Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! This diverse celebration brings in a large cross-section of people to celebrate the unique cultures that we call Hispanic Heritage. Over the next thirty days, we acknowledge and celebrate Americans who have lineage across South America, Mexico, Central America, and even Spain.