AFSCME Members Take Action to Support Veto Override of Important Legislation

This year, AFSCME Council 3 members stood together to ensure legislation important to working people would not be vetoed by Governor Hogan. AFSCME Members spoke out in the media and sent hundreds of letters urging the Governor not to veto important legislation. Despite this, the Governor vetoed the legislation, and the Maryland Legislature overturned his veto this past Saturday. Thanks to the advocacy of AFSCME Members and our allies these important pieces of legislation will now become law without further delay.

As a result of our actions, several important bills will become law including:

Office of Public Defender Merit Status and Collective Bargaining Rights

Under present law, Maryland Office of Public Defender core support staff and social workers are considered “merit” employees, but frontline attorneys are considered “special appointment” employees, making their employment “at will” and denying them many of the basic rights and opportunities provided to merit-based state employees.  This legislation would remove the special appointments status of OPD attorneys and place them within the state’s merit-based system, and then grant ALL Office of Public Defender staff the right to collectively bargain.  Effective date October 1, 2022.

Time To Care Act

The Time To Care Act would establish the Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI) Program in the Maryland Department of Labor to provide up to twelve weeks of paid leave benefits to individuals who take leave from employment for the following reasons:

•          Is caring for a newborn child or child newly placed for adoption or foster care;

•          Is caring for a family member with a serious health condition or disability;

•          Has a serious health condition that makes the employee unable to perform his or her job;

•          Is caring for a military service member who is next of kin; and

•          Has a specified need resulting from the military deployment of a family member.

The program itself would “go live” on January 1, 2025.  Leave taken by an employee would run concurrently with eligible leave taken under the federal Family & Medical Leave Act.  Employees would not be eligible to take this leave until all other forms of available leave are exhausted. Stay tuned for more information on this legislation and it’s implementation!

Hogan’s actions are not surprising given that over his time in office he has signed into law just a single law impacting Maryland’s workers. The Governor has a clear bias against working people and continues to delay or reject legislation that would positively impact workers. This is why AFSCME members immediately took action by sending letters and speaking out in the press. Read some of the coverage following the links below:

As Hogan Prepares to Act on Dozens of Bills, Union Presses for Paid Family Leave, Other Measures | Maryland Matters | April 8th, 2022

Labor leaders push for workers' bills | WYPR | April 7th, 2022

Unions push Gov.Hogan to sign pro-labor bills before end of legislative session | WMDT 47 | April 7th, 2022