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Facing Excessive Caseloads and Stagnant Wages, Members of AFSCME Maryland Rally in Annapolis

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By Katie Moy-Santos, AFSCME Maryland Worth the Fight

Social workers, corrections officers, probations and parole officers, and other state workers who are members of Maryland’s Council 3, rallied to raise awareness of issues including excessive caseloads, low wages, and staffing crises. More than 500 employees from agencies across the state marched to the governor’s mansion to demand Governor Larry Hogan address these problems when they go to the bargaining table for their annual wage negotiations. 

“We are losing staff every day,” said Laurice Jones, a Family Services Case worker with the Baltimore City Department of Social Services. “Some workers start with us and leave within their first week because the pay is too low and the work too high. When we are short-staffed and our resources are underfunded, it’s the children of Baltimore City who suffer. In Baltimore City we have more than 70 unfilled child welfare jobs. Invest in us, Governor Hogan,” demanded Jones. 

AFSCME Maryland is urging the Hogan administration to stop obstructing annual wage negotiations and give concrete proposals immediately at bargaining. Last year, an independent factfinder found that the state should be giving its employees two steps and a $1,500 flat increase, which the Hogan administration refused to fund in spite of continued budget surpluses. This year, the state of Maryland has a $504 million surplus, but the Hogan administration is trying to pass ground rules limiting how often bargaining occurs, how the union can communicate to its members, and their right to seek relief from legislative allies.

“Fighting for state employees is fighting for public services,” said Patrick Moran, President of AFSCME Council 3.  “We’re asking the Hogan administration, who has the power to improve the quality of Maryland’s public services, to pay attention and listen to the state employees who actually provide those services. We are speaking out because wages are not competitive enough to attract and retain employees, causing staffing issues at agencies throughout the state and unfairly forcing massive caseloads on current employees.”

Council 3 members—and AFSCME members nationwide—will continue to make their voices heard during this November’s midterm elections, voting for candidates who support them in providing the highest quality public service possible.