2020 End of Year Message from President Moran

Message from President Moran

2020 has been a tough year in a lot of ways, but it has proven how we can handle adversity and get the job done for the people of Maryland.   The Covid pandemic has really proven that you, the members of AFSCME have been heroes throughout the state of Maryland.  From Garrett County to Worcester County, you have taken this head on and have never wavered in your commitment to the people of Maryland. 

From the beginning of the pandemic, we have been pushing the state to do the right thing by providing appropriate leave if infected, proper personal protective equipment such as masks, gowns, gloves, and hand sanitizer.  We pushed some agencies to do the right thing, the DOC being one of the few agencies that responded, while facing something that we have never seen before. This forced some of our members to fight the state’s poor and careless decision-making process each and every day at work. Some of the state’s thinking was just CRAZY!  People running the Maryland Department of Health and Department of Juvenile Services REFUSED to allow members to wear masks in facilities and did not provide gloves and gowns (PPE) for weeks after the Covid outbreak started.  But we didn’t stand still and just accept their poor decisions, we fought back.

Members from all of the state stood up and demanded healthy and safe working conditions. We held caravans all over the state to bring attention to the fact that Governor Hogan was all over the national press stating he was on top of it when his employees were NOT allowed to wear masks at work, or were not provided with, gowns, gloves, or sanitizers.  We held caravans in Salisbury, Annapolis, Prince George’s County, College Park, Baltimore, Jessup, Hagerstown, Cumberland, and Frostburg.  Hundreds of members participated in these caravans and it brought about a lot of press and attention to the problems people are facing in the workplace.  With this attention in the media it brought about change, we saw agencies providing more PPE and telework opportunities to keep people out of harm’s way. 

In the midst of fighting for healthy and safe workplaces we also stood up to racial injustices in Maryland and across the country.  The fight for racial justice has sparked a new level of activism and engagement everywhere, across the world. From the tragic death of George Floyd in Minnesota a reaction took place that has moved people to action.  We had seen reactions like this before but not with the staying power and broad support that we witnessed this summer.  Amazingly this was in the face of a pandemic while the ability to gather was reduced dramatically, but people got together in a number of different ways stand up to and speak out against racism in our country. We have a long way to go Sisters and Brothers, and we must be vigilant in our pursuit for equality.

Finally, we are in the midst of bargaining, which always takes place at the end of the year.  And like every year in the Hogan Administration, they continue to try and take away our rights and economically strangle us.  Governor Hogan’s representatives tried all summer to permanently cut our pay by 5%, cut our health benefits, cut positions, change overtime provisions, and push for furloughs.  We consistently pushed back saying, “show us the evidence.”  While some other unions caved and made concessions we continued to demand the proof that cuts were needed. Well at the end of the day, NO CUTS WERE NEEDED.  That didn’t stop Hogan from pushing for cuts anyway and we pushed back again, and WON, AGAIN!   We maintained the 2% wage increase he attempted to take way this coming January in addition to stopping the cuts he was trying to make.  We will continue to push back and demand what we deserve all throughout the process, we won’t have a firm answer on the 2022 budget until the end of this year so stay tuned.

We proved in 2020 that if we stand up & speak out, we can make a difference in our lives and our workplaces!  We must continue to demand the respect we deserve and have earned. Please stay safe & healthy into the new year.  Upward and onward in 2021!