An Aggressive Agenda

From the beginning, AFSCME Maryland set an aggressive agenda. Recognizing that state laws and political decisions controlled our work lives, AFSCME Maryland members embarked on a mission to develop political power through legislative action.

AFSCME Maryland activists pushed through important laws in the late 70’s and 80’s defining rights for workers. Important gains were won. AFSCME won passage of a state grievance procedure law for both exempt and non-exempt employees, providing employees with an avenue to appeal unfair disciplinary and supervisory actions. Lay-off rights according to seniority were established which eliminated arbitrary selections in times of budget crisis.

AFSCME Maryland won the right to use sick leave for childbirth and adoption instead of forcing employees to use vacation for these purposes. 

The early 1990s brought hard times for Maryland State employees as budget cuts threatened earlier gains. Layoffs, furloughs, and even an uncompensated expansion of the workweek were used to balance the budget on the backs of the state workforce. 

These actions only increased AFSCME Maryland's determination to win collective bargaining rights so that employees would have a more powerful voice in determining their working conditions in good times and in bad.