A Message from President Patrick Moran: September 2020 Update

A Message from AFSCME Maryland President Patrick Moran

This fall, public schools across Maryland have resumed online and slowly we are beginning to see the state resume normal functioning. With talks looming of re-opening schools as early as the second quarter, it’s clear Maryland is on track to continue opening sooner rather than later. We are seeing more people gain confidence being out and about, more restaurants with people inside, and grocery stores are bustling with more people every day. After almost 8 months of the pandemic, each day continues to bring new positive cases and more uncertainty of the future ahead.  However not much has changed for Maryland’s state and higher education employees who have been working throughout the pandemic.

When the Governor made the decision to close down schools, many public settings, and businesses in March of this year many citizens were stuck at home looking after kids and trying to figure out how to cope with the unprecedented crisis of the pandemic. This quarantine time was not afforded to the majority of AFSCME’s members who had a job to do to help the state of Maryland fight the virus and keep the state moving forward. You rose to the call and continued to keep our State running through this time of unprecedented crisis.

Across the country, we have seen the horrific results in other states, in particular prisons and nursing homes, hundreds of people falling victim to the pandemic. Some never to recover.  In Maryland in the most vulnerable state facilities such as state hospitals and DPSCS prisons where we saw the largest amount of cases, we have been fortunate enough to have a minimal of catastrophe.  Why?  Because people stood up and spoke out ensuring people received some forms of PPE to protect themselves and the wards of the state they oversee and where they provide care. 

But now we are facing even a more daunting task.  We must continue the work while our children are back in school. This is often leaving young school age children alone or minimally overseen when attempting to attend school online.  This is affecting millions of Maryland families every day; and there seems to be no plan by the administration to remedy it. The administration has taken the stance of “send them back into the classroom,” all the while we are seeing their attempt to institute this at the universities and colleges as an abject failure as hundreds of students at UMCP have contracted the virus in a couple of days and are quarantined to dormitories.  And who is cleaning up and maintaining the dorms and the campuses, with no willingness by the administration to negotiate safe working conditions for the employees, of course AFSCME members. 

So, while the state continues to move forward and the campuses continue to allow students to congregate, our brothers and sisters are keeping it together to put our society in a better place.  It is never said enough, THANK YOU. Save the date for an important forum on Wednesday, October 14th on our struggle to adapt to the reality of the pandemic!