USM Bargaining Story: Warren Pointer

Warren has been with UMD for over 20 years and says that in that time, he's witnessed a significant improvement in the work environment thanks to our union. "The COVID-19 pandemic actually highlighted the importance of our union because it revealed the disparity between how management and employees were treated. Management themselves chose to work remotely while requiring the rest of us to be on-site without understanding the risks involved."

He says his journey with the union began after receiving an unsatisfactory review from management, which they couldn't explain. "I soon discovered that some non-exempt colleagues were deliberately getting poor reviews from their managers to prevent pay increases. Since then, I've been a shop steward with AFSCME, and we’ve revamped the pay structure to reduce such issues. 

Being part of the bargaining team has taught me the value of our union in challenging management's reluctance to respect worker rights. We're tackling critical issues, like pay raise structures and workload, which has become a major concern due to staff reductions in our department. Since the pandemic, the number of staff in my department has been cut in half resulting in stressful workloads for the rest of us that are still here. And before our last agreement, there had been no wage hikes for five years.  

To my coworkers not yet in the union, I urge you to join us. There's strength in numbers, and together, we can negotiate for better working conditions and ensure our victories continue."