February 2, 2011

Almost 9 out of 10 employees approve AFSCME contract

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By Megan Poinski
Megan@MarylandReporter.com

A new contract between the American Federation of County, State and Municipal Employees and the state was approved with 89% of votes cast.

Almost 6,000 state government employees voted on the contract over the last two weeks in January, said AFSCME Maryland Executive Director Patrick Moran. CORRECTION Both The 24,000 members of the employees the union represents, including those and thousands who are eligible but have not joined could vote on the contract. Votes were counted on Wednesday.

AFSCME's Patrick Moran

“We expected a healthy margin,” Moran said. “In each bargaining unit, people had been saying favorable things about the contract, both members and non-members alike.”

The three-year contract takes effect on July 1. It was negotiated to “pay employees back” for enduring wage freezes, furloughs and other hardships during the recession. It includes the following benefits:

  • A $750 bonus in fiscal year 2012, beginning July 1.
  • Five paid furlough days – reclassified as paid administrative leave – for the years represented in the contract.
  • If state revenues are up, a 2% COLA in 2013.
  • If state revenues are up, a 3% COLA in 2014.
  • If there are enough increased revenues, reinstating of step salary increases starting April 1, 2014.
  • Guaranteeing raises for employees working at jobs above their current pay grades.
  • Holding down increases in insurance costs for fiscal year 2012.

Moran said that the union had been working on the contract for about six months.

“I think this is acknowledgment of the hard work the bargaining team did, and the confidence they have in our contract,” Moran said.

The new contract also includes mandatory fees that non-union members must pay AFSCME. These fees, allowed by a 2009 law, had not been included in any union contracts until this year. The fees cover costs associated with services the union provides for all employees, ranging from negotiating health benefits to settling grievances.

Moran said that he cannot say what the fee may be for non-union members because it will need to be precisely calculated by actuaries and accountants.

Now that the contract is ratified, Moran said the union will be focusing its attention on other legislative priorities, specifically defending pensions and retiree health care.

  • WAKEUPMD

    So, only 6000 voted?? What does that say about the contract and state employee understanding of the contract?? This is no great win for AFSCME. It tells me a lot of state workers chose not to vote, probably believing that if they did not choose to belong to the union then the contract would not have any affects on them. Wait until they see the little “gift” they give to the union ever payday! With that low of a voter response, it appears that the information being given out did not get to the vast majority of the employees. They simply did not understand what was included in the contract and why it was important for them to vote.

    • Me

      It is a win for the unions and the State and a loss for the workers. This was the best kept secret by the state administration, the unions and the news media. Nothing like working for an employer who consistently wants money from your paycheck … $750 bonus going right into the unions’ pockets. This my fellow state workers was deal with the unions so they could get their fees in exchange for your healthcare and pension benefits. If you do not wake up and realize that, we are all going to be screwed!

  • postman1

    The title of the article should read “AFSCME thanks Governor O’Malley for millions of $”

    • me

      Agreed!

    • Joe

      Now afscme is going to cash in on the money they contributed to the Governor,s campaigne.

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  • Noreallywakeupmd

    At over 6,000 of 22,000 voting that means more than 27% of eligible voters voted. That compares with approximately 37% of voters who vote in Congressional elections. A little over 50% of Americans voted in the last Presidential election. Those elections have massive TV, radio, and print press coverage, etc. etc. This election among Maryland State Employees is an impressive turnout for a small but significant election in a country that routinely doesn’t get up off its butt to vote…

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  • me

    Bend over state workers.

  • DISLIKE UNIONS

    The $750 is payable over 26 pays comes out to approx. 28.50 per pay $15.00 union Service Fees leaves $13.50 – Taxes= Approx $5.40 leaves the State Employee appox $8.10

    PAGE 20 COLLECTIVE UNIT H:

    http://afscmemd.org/?action=article&articleid=7e16fbdf-11fe-4d3f-92a8-e7c377f83570
    ARTICLE 7. WAGES
    Section 1A. Wages
    During Fiscal Year 2012 each bargaining unit employee shall receive a total
    bonus of $750, payable in equal installments per pay period throughout the fiscal year,

    • DISLIKE UNIONS

      Fee was just an example unsure what it may really be!

  • Henry

    If this contract was such a good thing for employees,how comes out of 24,000 only 6,000 voted? Simple, because the eastern part of the state relies on the afscme to keep their jobs for them,where as the western region doesn,t.The majority of the people were not properly informed of the vote by their representatives.They saw afscme on the letter head and threw it away.I say we need to have a new vote on the contract.

  • Betrayed

    The only thing the employees are guaranteed is the $750 nothing more.Everything else depends on the states budget.

  • GIGGLES1

    In my understanding of any thing in this matter of members you are to have 50% plus 1 to pass a vote of this kind. 6000 is not close to 50%. This tells me that they could have actually had 3 people in the vote and it would have been passes. This is all a bunch of someone who can now legally STEAL your money for doing nothing for there people. What ever happened to a the democracy? It’s all been lost in the so called government of this day. What happened to people help people in place of people helping them selves to other people’s money. This all reminds me of the story of the “Ant and the Grasshopper” We the state workers are the “ANT” and the Union is the “GRASSHOPPER”… they sit back and do nothing and say WE DID THIS… yeah right.

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  • Karenwr7

    What I found is that only certain state employees were able to vote for or against AFSCME. WHAT A RIP OFF!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Some people have NO interest in being involved in a Union now will have to pay union dues. Alot of state employees know nothing about the dues all state employees will have to pay now. Thanks for the $750 so state employees can attempt to pay the dues that the govt has imposed on them.

  • SouthernPackers

    Get your facts straight MD Reporter….9 ot of 10 Afscme members not state employees…..If your not a member of Afscme you don’t get a vote….Just the cost of fees coming out of your paycheck…

  • SouthernPackers

    So it does’nt matter about free speech if your really agsainst Afscme your not gonna let me put it on here anyway….I wonder why that is???