AFT-Maryland staff and affiliate members journeyed to Wichita, Kansas, March 9-14 for a week of intensive training in the AFT organizing model and to help the Kansas Organization of State Employees (KOSE) identify potential activists and recruit new union members. The AFT-Maryland volunteers joined union members from Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, and Kansas in the joint organizing effort, which was launched as a part of the “Reclaiming the Promise of High Quality Public Services for Strong Communities,” an AFT national initiative."
The bill that would increase Maryland’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour has been stalled in the Senate Finance Committee. Senator Thomas Middleton (D-Charles), chair of that committee says that he will not move on the minimum wage proposal until an agreement to raise the wages of workers who care for the developmentally disabled has been reached. Middleton wants to raise the hourly wage for workers who care for the developmentally disabled to a level that is higher than the proposed minimum wage increase.
Workers who care for the developmentally disabled in community-based programs supported
The nine-inch snow storm that hit the city of Annapolis Monday, March 17th, delayed the schedule to which legislators are expected to adhere. Monday, March 17th, officially was “Crossover Day,” the last day when bills passed in the House or Senate can be sent to the corresponding subcommittee in the opposite chamber for consideration. Bills that fail to “crossover” are sent to the Rules Committee for review and a decision. Generally, legislation sent to the Rules Committee is considered more difficult to get passed.
The House of Delegates passed almost 100 bills before adjourning at 6:00 p.m
A series of bills before the Senate Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee could, if passed, delay the use of the new student achievement test, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers. The bills also could allow local school systems, rather than the state, to decide how much—if at all—the test would count towards teacher evaluation. During the Senate committee hearing on February 19th, state officials were divided on how teachers should be evaluated. Several bills now before the legislature propose waiving the state assessment test and Common Core
The governor has proposed that the state’s promised $300 million per year contribution to state worker pension plans be cut by $100 million. AFT-Maryland affiliates have argued that the cuts jeopardize the financial standing of the state and could result in reduced payments for retired state workers.
AFT Healthcare-Maryland President Debra Perry submitted testimony in favor of Senate Bill 483 February 20th. That bill proposes additional protections for workers in healthcare facilities. Perry’s testimony documented numerous incidents of violence that had befallen healthcare workers in state facilities and requested that legislators pass the bill SB 483.
The bill calls for the creation of a committee to study workplace violence prevention measures and the establishment of specific procedures that greatly reduce the opportunities for a violent incident to occur in state healthcare facilities.