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2024 Legislative Report AFT Maryland

AFT Maryland Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs, Denise Riley, and Political Coordinator, Todd Reynolds, present important information about the 2024 Maryland Legislative Session, which closed on April 8, 2024. Many important pieces of legislation affecting our members are detailed below, including information on bills affecting education professionals, state employees, city and county employees, and employees at higher education institutions. 

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Independence Day

Independence Day and the celebration of our country’s founding is a beautiful metaphor for the labor movement. In forming the country, various interests and people were forced to collaborate around a united idea to birth what has become the United States of America. Farmers from western Massachusetts had to align their interests with merchants from Pennsylvania who themselves had to join with southerners who made their money trading on people and land. Each had their own unique issue with the mother country, yet none alone could stand up to the world’s strongest empire at the time.

The labor movement, much like the original thirteen colonies, can only demonstrate its power in unity. 

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Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services logo

The state of Maryland has received a $2.5 million implementation grant from Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). This grant will help Maryland public schools extend services beyond what is provided under a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Individualized Family Services Program (IFSP). This initiative is a critical step toward enhanced healthcare accessibility for students enrolled in Medicaid or CHIP.

This grant, a product of the work of AFT Maryland in collaboration with Gov. Moore’s staff, is part of a broader federal effort under the Biden Administration. Click here to read more.

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AFT Maryland Organizes Retiree Meeting

The union is not only a home for active workers; it is also a place for retirees. AFT Maryland has three active retiree chapters in the state federation and each was represented at a retiree meeting held at the state federation office. Retired members from the Maryland Classified Employees Association (MCEA-Council 152), Baltimore Teachers Union (BTU-R), and the City Union of Baltimore (CUB-R) gathered for food, fellowship, and important updates on how to actively support labor, electoral, and community efforts of AFT Maryland. The gathering was organized by AFT Maryland organizer Janell Edmonds with support from the state federation.

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Community College Statewide Steward Training

Once finals are over and grades are turned in, you may think a professor’s work is finished for the summer. That’s not completely true for community college professors who are a part of the United Academics of Maryland (UAMD). For them, the work continues into the summer. On Saturday, June 15, 2024, professors representing community colleges across Maryland including Prince George’s, Howard, Hagerstown, Frederick, and Baltimore City attended a steward training for higher education professionals.

For photos and more on the steward training, read on!

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Juneteenth

The Juneteenth holiday should forever hold a special place in the hearts of labor activists. It is indeed a holiday to commemorate the end of American slavery, but we should never lose sight that American slavery had as much to do with labor rights as it did with race-based discrimination. Marking the end of the civil war with this holiday is a celebration of the end of state sanctioned race-based exploitation of vulnerable workers. The effects of the end of slavery reverberated throughout the entire United States, not merely because it marked a shift in the moral direction of the country, but because it recalibrated work relationships all across the nation, and particularly in southern states. 

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Following years of organizing, residents and fellows working at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) have voted to form a union, affiliating with AFT Maryland. Residents and fellows at the institution determined unionization was the best way to advocate for themselves and their patients. Members of the organizing committee are excited about the victory and the promise that unionization means for themselves and future residents and fellows.

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