In a post-Janus world it has become more important than ever to make sure public employees know their rights when it comes to unions. The Maryland Professional Employees Council hosted a “Lunch & Learn” for members, new hires, and non-members alike. This lunch and learn featured President Jerry Smith discussing the benefits of membership including having a voice at the table as the union negotiates on workers’ behalf. President Smith let those in attendance know that economic bargaining would soon open up between the union and the state and it would be important for workers’ to be members so they can have their concerns addressed at the bargaining table through the union.
AFT-Maryland Political Coordinator Todd Reynolds discussed all the union does for members in Annapolis. He explained how politically the union does not use members’ dues to do political lobbying and advocacy, but rather the funds for that come from the Committee on Political Education or COPE fund. Reynolds also explained how unions endorse candidates and work to support them in elections through member-to-member engagement.
Janell Edmonds, an organizer for AFT-Maryland explained the structure of AFT, breaking down national, the state federation and the various locals. She also stressed to members to take advantage of and engage in collective bargaining. She reminded those in attendance that some states are “right-to-work” and in those states she said they have “collective begging, not collective bargaining.” She stressed what President Smith and others did which was unions are an opportunity for a voice in the workplace.