AFSCME Gathers to Honor Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Launch Campaign to Strengthen Worker’s Rights in Maryland

For Embargoed Release; Monday, January 17th, 7 pm 

AFSCME Gathers to Honor Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Launch Campaign to Strengthen Worker’s Rights in Maryland

Annapolis- AFSCME Council 3 members will gather this evening to honor the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and launch our campaign to strengthen worker’s rights in Maryland. Members will gather to rally virtually, due to COVID safety protocols, on Zoom. Members will be joined by and hear from AFSCME National President Lee Saunders and Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones as well as former Labor Secretary Tom Perez and Del. Brooke Lierman and others.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a hallowed day for all Americans but especially AFSCME. Dr. King was assassinated in 1968 while supporting striking AFSCME sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee. Dr. King joined AFSCME’s strike and pickets after multiple workers had died on the job and were not being treated with dignity and respect, spurring the “I am a man” campaign.

After at least 24 of our brother and sisters have perished during the pandemic, AFSCME is honoring Dr. King and launching our legislative campaign to support Maryland’s frontline public employees who have risked their lives throughout. With staffing levels continuing to fall and Governor Hogan shrinking the state workforce by reducing pins, this is a dangerous time for public employees on the frontlines.

Our state hospitals and other public congregate-care facilities across Maryland continue to struggle with limited staffing. Facilities in the Department of Juvenile Services and the Department of Corrections have begun mandating non-custodial staff, who lack proper licensing and training, to maintain minimum staffing levels. This is unacceptable and we are urging Governor Hogan to immediately take action to fill vacant positions and ensure frontline staff have the PPE, testing and resources available to keep themselves and those under their care for safe.

AFSCME Council 3 President Patrick Moran said, “The fight Dr. King launched fifty-four years ago continues today as workers are rising up across the country to fight for better working conditions. Here in Maryland, we are fighting to pass collective bargaining rights for staff at the Office of the Public Defender and to strengthen collective bargaining law by passing binding arbitration. Without these changes, we know Governor Hogan will continue to systematically underfund Maryland’s public services and risk the health and safety of frontline staff.”

Who: AFSCME Council 3 President Patrick Moran, AFSCME President Lee Saunders, Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones, Delegate Brooke Lierman and Former Labor Secretary Tom Perez,

Members Saul Walker, AFSCME Local 1072, Cheryl Redd, Maryland Defenders’ Union 

When: Monday, January 17th, 7 pm

Where: Virtual Rally on Zoom