AFT Healthcare-Maryland convened a member meeting on Saturday, December 2, 2017 in Woodlawn, MD. President Debra Perry gave a state of the union address updating members on a number of topics including growth in membership and updates on contract negotiations. Beyond pertinent union information, there were also a number of key presentations that informed members on a myriad of topics.
Sara Markle-Elder from the American Federation of Teachers was on hand to give a presentation about the dangers of fentanyl exposure. This issue is relevant nationwide but particularly useful to Marylanders because of the recent opioid epidemic. Governor Larry Hogan has intensified efforts to combat opioid overdoses so the training for how to engage and deal with fentanyl, which experts identify as the most dangerous of all the opioids currently plaguing Marylanders, was especially timely.
Members also received a “how-to” session for engaging their local elected leadership. As the legislative session draws closer, how to engage elected officials in Annapolis becomes more important. AFT Healthcare-Maryland Field Coordinator Rose Wertz taught members how to not only find out who their elected representatives are, but how to go about engaging them to advocate for issues important to the union.
Organizing was covered by AFT National Representative Destiny Turnboe and AFT Healthcare-Maryland organizer Robin Raynor. They stressed the urgency of bringing agency fee payers into the fold as full members. Doing this gives the union a stronger voice at the negotiation table and in Annapolis. Executive Director Martin Guinane spoke on the upcoming Janus v. AFSCME Council 31 Supreme Court Case. He gave the history behind attacks on public sector unions so members would be better informed on how to this case could shape the future of the union.
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