COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information UPDATED 3/25


Today, after pressure from shop stewards and union leaders, the Department of Corrections committed to medical staff performing temperature screenings. This is a critical step to ensuring screenings are performed accurately helping to keep the facility safe and prevent non-medical professionals from sending workers home unnecessarily. 

We are working to push all agencies and institutions to take the same important step to screen anyone entering or exiting state facilities. If this is not being done at your facility, please email your supervisor requesting they switch to screenings being done by trained medical professionals. This is a difficult time and it's up to us to ensure our workplaces take our health seriously. Please report back to your shop steward or local president. 

We will  continue to track reports from worksites all across the state. We will continue to staff the Coronavirus hotline at 410-547-1515 and [email protected] to triage emerging issues.  Please communicate directly with your field representative, local president or shop steward about ongoing issues. 


In the past few days, our union is continuing to closely monitor working conditions during the pandemic crisis. Starting Monday, Governor Hogan issued a decision ending premium pay for state employees under the reasoning that necessary precautions, supplies and protocols were in place to limit the spread of transmission. 

We know this isn't true! There's still time to take action. Please contact your representative and urge the Governor to take action:

Our union is continuing to track reports from worksites all across the state. We will continue to staff the Coronavirus hotline at 410-547-1515 and [email protected] to triage emerging issues.  However, please communicate directly with your staff representative. 

Read some of the news stories written about this terrible decision by Governor Hogan: 

Hogan Cuts Emergency Pay For State Employees | WYPR

Maryland to end temporary extra pay for state employees working during coronavirus outbreak | Baltimore Sun

Unions, Corrections Staff Fret About Spread of Virus in Md. Prisons | Maryland Matters


Unfortunately, as many of you have heard, DBM has announced that they are ending premium pay (2 hours of pay for one hour of work) as of midnight at the end of Sunday Night. There is no change to admin leave for folks who cannot telework nor change to the mandatory telework policy at this time. 

This is an incredibly dangerous move by the Hogan administration to try to save money during an international pandemic by shorting you pay. It is unacceptable, and is opposed by all of us at AFSCME, our membership, many Maryland elected officials and even some members of management! Cutting pay to emergency essential or operationally-critical staff in the middle of a state of emergency is the worst possible response to COVID-19 this governor can make. While we expect our membership to come to work and act professionally despite this governor’s decision, we want to make sure everyone hears about this and we need those in power in Maryland to stop this dangerous act before it worsens this crisis.

Please immediately follow the link to write your legislator and urge Governor Hogan to reverse his decision and not stop premium pay:


The past week has been a confusing and scary time especially for many state and higher education employees. Our union has worked to engage the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the University System of Maryland (USM) on a variety of policies aimed to keep workers safe during the Pandemic crisis.

On Monday, the Office of the Comptroller still had their branch offices fully open to the public and the Greenbelt office alone saw over 200 individuals. State and Federal officials have already extended tax filing deadlines to July 15th. Shop stewards and activists worked together to sign a petition urging management to close branch offices. On Thursday, management announced the closure of these facilities. This is just one example of AFSCME members across the State coming together to stand up for our health and dignity. 

Stay tuned next week for updates and actions to keep protecting our workplaces. You can follow along by LIKING and FOLLOWING our AFSCME Maryland Facebook Page:

DBM has just released a new protocol for entry to state buildings. We will post a reminder on Monday but please email us ([email protected]) on how this policy is being applied. Read the full policy here:

We will continue to engage with individual campuses about their plans after Governor Hogan’s announcement that all USM schools will continue instruction online for the rest of the semester. Here is an article from UMDs' campus newspaper the Diamondback about AFSCME Local 1072's activity on campus:

Remember, if you have questions or concerns during this time, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office at 410-547-1515 or [email protected]. Our hotline will be staffed over the weekend and through next week. See schedule below:

Saturday and Sunday (3/20 and 3/21)
Monday-Thursday (3/23-3/26)
Friday (3/27)


 For communication with AFSCME Council 3

  • All AFSCME staff will be available through cell and email
  • [email protected]g and 410-547-1515 the Corona Virus hotline will be staffed from 9am-7pm through Sunday.

For Executive Branch State Employees under DBM/MDOT:

If you are being directed to continue home visits, please report any guidance or equipment supplied by your management. In lieu of better answers, you can also review the guide sheet prepared by AFSCME's Health and Safety Specialist on meeting clients in the field. 

This sheet emphasizes pre-screening and other best practices.

For Higher Education Employees:

Last night the USM issued a directive restricting activities on all campuses and making telework mandatory for all who can. Read the full statement here:
We are asking members to send any new directives from your campus or your particular work area to [email protected] We believe we need to push the state and the USM to make sure the best decisions are being made. More information coming soon!


 For communication with AFSCME Council 3

  • All AFSCME staff will be available through cell and email
  • [email protected]
  • The Corona Virus hotline will be staffed:  Call the Council main number to be connected

AFSCME Council 3: What are we watching for?

Please send us your observations from Day 1 working under the pandemic.

1-What work is being performed?

  • What work is being done in your workplace?
  • Is it critical to the functioning of the state/addressing the current crisis? 
  • Are there people in the workplace who could telework?

2-Are people working outside their classification?

  • Are people doing work they don’t usually do?
  • Have they been trained?


  • If this is a wokplace with access to the public, how are people being screened?

4-Are people safe?

  • Do they have the right materials to stay safe?
  • Have they received training?

5-Get the immunosuppressed home!

  • Those who are immunosuppressed should not be at work.


Attention AFSCME Council 3 Higher Ed Members:

Unlike for the state employees, for whom  Governor Hogan has made clear decisions,  there is not yet a central decision making point for the institutions of higher learning.  There is a lot of mystery and anxiety among all the stakeholders at institutions of higher learning.

We believe this is a mistake.

We are asking our elected leaders to push the universities to make decisions transparently.

We are very interested in hearing what higher ed members are being told about returning to work. Please email us your experience about your concerns at [email protected]

We believe:

  • There should be minimal activity on campus. Only vital functions.
  • Telework should be mandatory, for all who can.
  • Employees who have to work should be adequately compensated.
  • Employees who can not work should be placed on administrative leave.
  • Employees who have to work should be provided the proper training and supplies.

The universities should make decisions transparently and proactively.  

Please share what you are hearing at [email protected]

Stay tuned for more info.

Posted at 11:00AM

AFSCME Council 3 continues to engage with the Department of Budget and Management and University System of Maryland about the policies in effect associated with the "elevated level II" status and the pandemic Coronavirus. 

For State Employees: As we announced yesterday, under this status, any work done after 12:01 am on Friday, March 13th, will be compensated at the double time rate. This policy was negotiated Thursday evening between DBM and the exclusive bargaining agents for public employees. All work done in a state facility, or mission critical capacity, will be compensated at double time. Any telework eligible employee should work with their supervisor to make an arrangement to work at your regular pay rate and where not possible employees will be sent home on administrative leave with regular pay. 

Please see the DBM directive sent to all agency HR Directors outlining this policy:

For AFSCME Council 3 members who are working in the Universities the situation is more complicated.  Some Universities have taken the necessary steps to address the crisis.  Some universities have chosen to remain open, which we believe to be counter to the interests of public safety.  We are calling upon the USM and independent universities to take the steps they need to address this crisis.

If you have questions about work during the pandemic, or inconsistent application of this policy, please contact our Coronavirus hotline or email. 

AFSCME Council 3 will continue our normal business hours next week starting at 9AM on Monday, March 16th. 

[email protected]
Saturday:  8AM-7PM
Sunday: 9AM-5PM


As of 12pm today, we have official confirmation from DBM that their policy is in effect for pay in the "elevated level 2 status" for state employees. 

We finalized negotiations with DBM at 8pm last night and HR Directors in agencies across the State of Maryland are STILL getting updated. To reiterate, you should continue to report to work as directed. You will either be:

*sent home on admin leave at your regular pay rate
*telework as possible at your regular pay rate
*be compensated at the double pay rate if required to stay

Your supervisor may change your designation based on what work must get done. Until then, we will update as we get more information. Please continue to contact [email protected] or 410-547-1515 with your coronavirus questions.

We are continuing to push for more information on screening, access to the public and access to cleaning supplies.

Please reveiw our Frequently Asked Questions guide for work during the pandemic:


Today, at 4:15pm Governor Hogan announced state operations will move to “Elevated Level II”. This evening our union had a phone conference with DBM to clarify the following questions.

Unless otherwise directed by your supervisor, all employees should report to work as planned tomorrow. At this point, all employees will either be placed on administrative leave at your regular pay rate, as possible, make a telework arrangement (more details below) or work in your facility under a premium pay rate. This means all work done until the status change will be compensated at the premium pay rate unless on sick leave. We are still determining with DBM when the premium pay rate went into effect.  

If you are able to telework or have a previous arrangement, you are covered under the telework agreement outlined below, and should work with your manager to determine the 8 hrs you will work in a 24 hr period. If you’re unable to complete 8 hours of work in a 24 hour period due to home circumstances, you may use leave.

 We still need important questions answered about screening members of the public, enhanced cleaning protocols and providing sufficient sanitation supplies for every office. We also need to hear from our members to ensure this policy is being uniformly applied across agencies. Our office has a special inbox at [email protected] for questions about the coronavirus as well as a dedicated line at 410.547.1515 ext 245.

It is essential that we stay in communication about what is going on in worksites across the state to ensure we can limit the spread of this disease and continue to fulfill the mission of our agencies.  

Pandemic Flu and Leave Attendance Policy

Modified Telework Agreement

Advanced Sick Leave Policy


The COVID-19 (Corona) Virus has quickly become an immediate, public health concern. I wanted to take a moment to inform you what your union is doing to get prepared.

We are currently at a Level II- Flexible Operations. In case you haven't seen, here is the policy issued by the Department of Budget and Management outlining the levels. 

Pandemic Flu and Leave Attendance Policy

Modified Telework Agreement

Advanced Sick Leave Policy

We have two groups of members in Council 3, those who work directly for the Executive Branch of the State of Maryland and those who work at institutions of Higher Education.

Update your Personal Email to stay up to date without your work inbox

If you work for the state of Maryland, you should know that we are actively engaged with the Governor’s office through the Department of Budget and Management in the implementation of the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) responses. We have began sending demands to bargain to agencies which have high levels of public interaction or secure wards of the state. There will be an acute impact on facilities that operate 24/7 and we are closely monitoring risk for those members.

If you work in Higher Education, we are engaged with the University System of Maryland and have initiated bargaining with all the schools. The Universities and Colleges have already announced a shutdown or distance learning program for the Spring Semester. We will be diligent in making sure the rights and health of all state employees is protected.

We are engaging with our AFSCME International Union in getting the best and latest information possible to protect our health and the health of the citizens we serve. We expect to be able to send this information out in the next 24 hours.

We are also having direct communication with Executive Board members and local union presidents over the next 24 hours.

Also, please make sure your personal information (including personal email and cell phone) are up to date to ensure you get our latest updates, regardless of your access to work inboxes:

This is a difficult situation but I am confident that standing together, we will get through it. If you have questions or concerns about the impact of the current health crisis on your work, you can email us at [email protected] or contact our office at 410-547-1515 ext 245.

Coronavirus update: March 2nd

With COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) now present and spreading in the United States, many of our members will be on the front lines of caring for and transporting those afflicted with the virus. They too are at risk -- particularly if there isn’t awareness of the symptoms, if there is improper or delayed diagnosis, or if there are inadequate workplace safeguards. All Council 3 members have direct contact with the public.  For these reasons, accurate information is of vital importance.

Our union has reached out to the Hogan Administration to demand immediate discussions on preparation for state employees.  AFSCME Council 3 members are on the front lines of this crisis and we will fight to make sure they are safe and have the tools and resources they need to do their important work.   

Below are two important Fact Sheets prepared by content experts at our National Union distributed by President Lee Saunders. If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to our Member Resource Center at 410-547-1515 or [email protected].

Coronavirus Disease

Coronavirus Industry Specific

Below is some useful information approved by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) on prevention the spread of COVID-10.


There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus, by taking everyday preventive actions as with the flu and other respiratory illnesses:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Get a flu vaccine. 

CDC does not recommend that people who are well wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.