AFSCME Council 3 Members and Community Allies Call on the Board of Public Works to Fund the Frontlines

For Immediate Release: May 18th, 2020

Contact: Stuart Katzenberg, [email protected]

AFSCME Council 3 Members and Community Allies Call on the Board of Public Works to

Fund the Frontlines

Baltimore, Maryland- Today, members of AFSCME Council 3 and community allies caravan-ed to worksites continuing to serve the public despite the pandemic. AFSCME Council 3 members are calling on the Board of Public Works to Fund the Frontlines and provide proper Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), testing plans for what happens when Maryland re-opens, Hero Pay, and adequate staff to do our jobs! Approximately 50 cars traveled together to five worksites staffed by Maryland’s public employees throughout the City of Baltimore.

AFSCME Council 3 President Moran said, “AFSCME members are joining together today to demand the Board of Public Works, who are meeting tomorrow, fund the frontlines. After 6 years of Governor Hogan cutting state services to the bone, it is more important now than ever for our communities and working people in Maryland that we fund the frontline and ensure our state is ready to reopen the economy safely.” He continued, “70% of positive cases in the Department of Corrections are among staff. In state hospitals, confirmed cases are rising, with Spring Grove Hospital Center reporting their second patient death in two weeks. To flatten the curve inside the facilities and in our communities, we need to immediately implement a systematic plan to test staff and those in their care. Where are the tests, Governor Hogan?”

AFSCME members are on the frontline of exposure in detention facilities and the frontline of connecting working people experiencing financial hardship to resources like unemployment or food stamp benefits. The only way to beat this pandemic and reopen the economy is to institute regular systematic testing in outbreak centers (like MD Correctional Institutions) and immediately invest in the services and the people who make our communities strong.

AFSCME Council 3 Executive Board Member Cherrish Vick, a caseworker for the Department of Human Services, said, “April 2020 had a 150% increase in applications over April 2019 to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Our department is on the frontline of providing critical help to Marylanders in economic crisis because of the coronavirus. We need the Board of Public Works to fund the frontlines and stand with working people across Maryland.”

Council 3 members have continued to report to work in high risk facilities and with high risk populations across the State of Maryland despite insufficient protections and a disturbing lack of transparency from management. Council 3 members have also seen a huge increase in workload processing a record number of unemployment and other benefit applications. Maryland public service workers are leading on-the-ground efforts to respond to COVID-19, often at significant risk and hardship to themselves. The Board of Public Works needs to take immediate action to fund the critical work of AFSCME members and public service workers across the State of Maryland.


AFSCME Maryland is the largest and fastest growing union for Maryland State and Higher Education Employees. We aren’t afraid to take on tough fights and when we fight, we win.