AFSCME Endorses Tom Perez for Governor of Maryland

AFSCME Council 3 and AFSCME Council 67 jointly announced their endorsement of candidate and former Maryland and U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez to be our next Governor. 

AFSCME members invited all major candidates, Republicans, and Democrats, to meet with our board.  After we conducted candidate interviews our board unanimously voted to endorse Tom Perez.

Our union worked alongside Perez when he served as the Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation under Governor Martin O’Malley. As Secretary, we were proud to sit across the table from him and have a real partner committed to solving problems and enacting change to improve the lives of working people and those we serve.  

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Perez has spent his career working alongside the labor movement and winning for workers and families. As Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation under Governor Martin O’Malley, he implemented the nation’s first statewide living wage law, fought corporate wage theft, and rebuilt the agency to protect homeowners across the state facing foreclosure and fraud, making the state a national bellwether for accountability early in the housing crisis. 

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While serving as U.S. Labor Secretary in the Obama Administration, Perez enforced laws protecting workers on the job, advocated for nationwide paid sick and family leave, and created more than 125,000 apprenticeship opportunities. He fought for fairer wages, spearheading efforts to protect workers’ retirement savings and to ensure overtime protections. He also helped resolve a massive six-week Verizon strike involving over 37,000 employees. They reached an agreement that included protections and benefits for Verizon’s retail workers.

“When unions succeed, Maryland succeeds, and I’ve spent my career fighting to make sure that workers and families have a seat at the table,” said Tom Perez. “Our state, county, and municipal employees need a dance partner in the Governor’s Mansion who will help make sure they can go to work in a safe environment, get paid a living wage, and have access to great benefits and health insurance, and I promise to be that partner. I’m deeply grateful to AFSCME Council 3 and Council 67 for their support, and I look forward to working together and organizing together to get this done.”

AFSCME Council 3 President Patrick Moran said, “Working people in Maryland are counting on the next Governor to fund a real recovery from the pandemic. Tom Perez is the leader we need with the proven record of experience improving Maryland’s public agencies. His history fighting for civil rights, labor rights and effectively running state and federal departments is what Maryland and our members need.  Our members are sick and tired of Governor Hogan’s failing administration and we are ready to usher in a new era of change in the Governor’s Mansion.”

AFSCME Council 67 Executive Director Glen Middleton said, “Tom Perez is the only gubernatorial candidate to have local government, state government and federal government experience.  He not only has the broad vision of what government means for Marylanders, he has the experience of knowing how government can deliver for Marylanders.  He won’t govern by press conference – he’ll roll up his sleeves and get the job done.”

AFSCME Local 3641 member and longtime Department of Labor Job Services Specialist Orion Jones said, “I am so proud that our union is endorsing Tom Perez. There is no clearer example of why we need a better Governor than the Department of Labor and the struggle Marylanders have had accessing unemployment benefits during the pandemic. Hogan’s consistent underfunding and understaffing makes our work to address Marylanders’ needs more difficult every single day and we need change now!”