AFSCME Council 3 MDH Labor Management Committee Meeting (May 11th, 2020)

AFSCME Council 3 MDH Labor Management Committee Meeting (May 11th, 2020)

AFSCME Council 3 Members from the Maryland Department of Health met with management representatives last Monday, May 11, 2020. Labor Management Committees are joint meetings between management and union representatives to negotiate over workplace conditions specific to the agency or facility. These committees are protected and outlined in our union contract in Article 5: Labor Management Committees.

AFSCME raised the following agenda items with management:

  • Covid-19 Testing
  • Effective Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • Plans to respond to positive tests in the workplace
  • Fair HR Policies concerning Hazard Pay, Emergency Pay and use of the Emergency Sick Leave and Extended Family Medical Leave of Absence
  • Plan to return to normal operations/resume new admissions
  • Standardized screening procedures for Local Health Departments and the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner

Almost every state hospital was represented by a union member from the Finan Center to Deer’s Head members spoke up and demanded clear answers from management. In response to each of our agenda items, members prepared information from their facility and discussed issues with implementation as well as provided suggestions on how to resolve or improve workplace issues. 

MDH management continued to defer answers for a later date and was unable to provide specific information despite having the agenda in advance. Management insisted they were in compliance with all CDC guidelines and issuing appropriate PPE despite staff at the Dept. of Corrections having N-95 masks that most MDH facilities are lacking.

MDH has mandated all facilities to start taking admissions on a weekly basis starting May 11th. The department has no protocol in place to make this happen in a safe manner. They deferred back to the facilities for plans how to transfer, admit and discharge patients without further spread of this virus.

MDH has notified us that they are working to update new protocols around testing employees and patients and screening procedures. Staff at local health departments and OCME report inconsistent screening and management reported only the questionnaire is in use at office buildings.

Despite the numerous issues with Response Pay, Emergency Pay and the extended sick leave management had no clear guidance and is “looking into the issues”. AFSMCE Council 3 believes all state employees deserve response pay and if you believe you have been left out, please reach out with a list of your duties that you cannot perform while social distancing so we can work with you to advocate for your job classification.

The most important step members can take to fight for fair pay during the pandemic crisis is join our Emergency Pay Grievance. Please visit our website to determine if you’re eligible and submit your addendum to join no later than next Tuesday, May 26th.

If you have questions about anything in this update, don’t hesitate to reach out to Lisa McKinney, Maryland Department of Health Field Representative, at [email protected]

Please stay safe!