AFSCME: Cuts to State Services Harm Marylanders During Time of Crisis Hogan Administration Proposals Slash Resources as Need Increases

AFSCME: Cuts to State Services

Harm Marylanders  During Time of Crisis

Hogan Administration Proposals

SlashResources as Need Increases

Baltimore, MD – AFSCME Council 3, the state’s largest public employee union representing almost 30,000 state employees, decried the proposed budget cuts put forward by the Hogan Administration today.  The Administration is looking for reductions totaling $1.45 billion. 

“At a time when Marylanders are facing challenges that haven’t been seen in decades, the Hogan Administration is choosing to actually reduce resources that help Marylanders meet those challenges,” said AFSCME Council 3 President Patrick Moran.  “Services and supports in health care, education and human services are being cut just when the need has become greatest.  Instead of rising to the challenge, the Hogan Administration is ducking for cover.  Unilateral cuts to pay and benefits of frontline workers holding the state together is insulting and demoralizing to Maryland.”

“Let’s be clear, we were struggling to hire new workers and provide quality care with limited resources BEFORE this pandemic hit us,” said Miriam Doyle, who works at Clifton T. Perkins Hospital Center. “ The social workers get double caseloads because we can’t hire or retain staff, the patients are put on long waitlists to receive care and have their hospitalizations extended for months or years due to delays in care, and a maximum security environment where people have to wait to get treatment becomes a dangerous, violent place. And then a COVID outbreak happened in the spring, and we had to deal with all of the above in addition to scrambling to make the best use (and reuse) of our limited PPE. And now I’m hearing that our scheduled salary increases are likely to be canceled due to budget cuts, and I’m so shocked that this is how the State of Maryland would treat its frontline state hospital workers who have been showing up to work during a pandemic. These cuts to employee pay and benefits are happening as we’re starting to have a second wave of COVID cases show up in the facility.”  

“This makes no sense,” said Jason Suggs who works at the Department of Labor Unemployment division.  “We have worked so hard to chip away at the tremendous number of unemployment claims, the tremendous number of requests for food assistance, literally working seven days a week without the resources needed to get the job done right.  Now we need to do as much, maybe more, with less?!?”

 Moran summarized the feelings of state employees, saying “These budget cuts and proposals barely touched the State Reserve Fund, also known as the state’s Rainy-Day Fund.  I look around and I see that it is raining pretty hard.  Can the Governor not see that?”

AFSCME requested an accounting of budgets and special funds for FY20 from the state which they failed to provide.  AFSCME asked the Hogan Administration to meet which they refused.  Cutting wages and pensions contributions along with increasing healthcare costs to the essential public employees most at risk, and already getting sick from COVID-19 is malicious on the part of the administration.  We have already seen the Hogan Administration’s delay in providing PPE and testing for our membership resulting in hundreds getting sick and AFSCME member Karen Kennedy dying from COVID-19 in the line of duty.