AFSCME Council 3 applauds Comptroller Franchot and Treasurer Kopp for Standing with Working Families AFSCME’s Campaign to Reject "draconian” Cuts to Public Services Leads to Victory

 For Immediate Release: July 1st, 2020 

Contact: Stuart Katzenberg [email protected] 

AFSCME Council 3 applauds Comptroller Franchot and Treasurer Kopp for Standing with Working Families 

AFSCME’s Campaign to Reject "draconian” Cuts to Public Services Leads to Victory 

Baltimore- AFSCME Maryland members in state and higher education are pleased to see draconian cuts to state services and frontline employees removed from the July 1st BPW agenda. The leadership of State Treasurer Kopp and Comptroller Franchot and thoughtfulness about the needs of Marylanders will not be forgotten. Congratulations to the dogged Council 3 members who lobbied, emailed, called, wrote letters and did direct action to get the point across that state services during a pandemic must be protected. 

Additionally, we joined with federal officials, advocacy, faith, community and labor to push back in concert against cuts that would be devastating to everyday Marylanders. We thank those who stood with us and will continue to support our allies to build a strong coalition fighting for a better Maryland. With the number of positive COVID-19 cases growing across the country, it is critical that we take action to protect frontline employees and important state services. 

We agree with Comptroller Franchot and Treasurer Kopp that Maryland needs to get a better handle on its finances with hard numbers, closing out FY20 books, getting withholdings, sales and income tax revenue in as well as going to the bond market on July 15th before any action on state services and personnel are taken. Furthermore, as Governor Hogan joins AFSCME in lobbying the Senate to pass additional federal aid it is critical that he delay dire cuts to frontline employees until the total funding picture is clear. We look forward to working with the Governor to procure as much federal funding for Maryland as possible. 

Moving forward, the Governor must work collaboratively with AFSCME and frontline employees. Recently, in an article in Maryland Matters, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) was quoted describing us as focused on belittling the fiscal situation of the State. 

In response, AFSCME Maryland Patrick Moran said, “Our members have been reporting throughout the pandemic and responding to the explosion of demand for state services caused by this historic health and financial crisis. One of our sisters lost her life because of this crisis. We have been prepared and continue to be ready to meet with DBM in accordance with labor law and past practice.” 

Frontline employees continue to experience difficulties getting tested in state facilities and receiving adequate Personal Protective Equipment. The second wave of the COVID-19 outbreak is here already for our members with 26 new positive cases at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital, underscoring the shameful act of cutting frontline employees literally risking their lives on the job. 

AFSCME Council 3 Secretary-Treasurer Cherrish Vick said, “Before the pandemic, we were understaffed. Now, we are understaffed with double or triple the workload and management refuses to negotiate with us over key issues around re-opening our facilities safely. We stopped the vote today and we will continue to march forward to protect state services and the many residents of Maryland relying on us, by any means necessary.” 

AFSCME remains concerned about the cuts approved today to our Higher Education workers that have not been negotiated, as well as the Governors comments of cutting over 3,000 positions if employees don’t accept cuts. This is even though there is $1 Billion dollars available in the Rainy-Day fund. The fund was created for times like this in order to avoid disastrous cuts to public service. 

AFSCME Council 3 will be reaching out to Governor Hogan’s office to coordinate a joint strategy and a path forward.