USM Bargaining Story: Angie Webb

Here's what Angie Webb, president of Local 1839 and a member of the AFSCME higher education bargaining team has to say about negotiating with the University System of Maryland:
"I have been a custodial technician at the University of Maryland Baltimore (UMB) for over 27 years. From a young age, I knew about the power of a union. My dad was a longshoreman and heavily involved in his union. He always told me, 'A union will protect your job and your rights. Always stay involved, know your contract, and know your rights. Don't let management take advantage of you, and never be afraid to speak up.'
When I first joined my union, they needed more stewards to step up and stand up for our employee rights. That led to me becoming vice president and then eventually president of our local. I was nervous about taking a leadership role, but my dad encouraged me to get involved and promised to coach me along the way. 
I strongly believe that no matter how long you've been in your union, there's always something you can learn. Being a part of this process to bargain our first consolidated agreement for the university system has been a learning experience. It's been an opportunity to hear from other members of the team about what issues their campuses have and how we can work together and learn from each other to set the bar higher across the system. Without a contract and the ability to bargain, we wouldn't be able to get the raises we deserve and have our rights protected.
There are many members of the management team who think that because they are high up, they don't need to care about the people beneath them. But my question is, without us, where would the campuses be? I hope that the USM leadership opens their eyes soon as to what needs to happen because otherwise, we'll continue to lose talented employees, they'll continue to lose the respect of their employees, and things will get worse.
If you're not already involved, now's the time to join our union, because the more members we have, the stronger we are and the more we can get done to create a university system that treats everyone with dignity and respect."