AFSCME Maryland and State of Maryland Sign New 3-Year Agreement for State Employees

Annapolis — Today, AFSCME Maryland Council 3 members and leaders attended a signing ceremony with Governor Wes Moore to finalize a new three-year contract for state workers represented by AFSCME.

This signing represents the final step to formalize the contract after over 99% of eligible state employees represented by AFSCME voted in favor of ratifying the agreement in a mail ballot vote.

Overall, workers covered by this contract will receive pay increases ranging from 5% to upwards of 20%, depending on job class, agency, and years of service.

Per the agreement, all state workers covered by an AFSCME contract will receive a cost of living adjustment (COLA) of 3%, effective July 1, 2024. Those who are eligible for a step increase will receive one in the upcoming fiscal year starting July 1, 2024. Effective January 1, 2025, those who have been continuously employed with the State since June 30, 2019 will receive an additional longevity step in recognition of their experience and time with the State. Depending on the position and agency, some state workers will receive additional pay increases and bonuses in order to better recruit and retain additional staff.

“Our negotiations with the State this time around were much more productive than in years past. I appreciate the State team for hearing us out and letting me share my story at the bargaining table. As someone who has worked for the State for nearly 16 years and who is trying to raise a family here in Maryland, I am appreciative of the raises that we have won that will help make paying my mortgage and childcare bills a little easier. And with better compensation, we’ll be able to attract and retain new employees to alleviate the stressful staffing situations my coworkers and I are facing,” said Cherrish Vick, AFSCME Maryland Council 3 Secretary-Treasurer and a Family Services Caseworker for the Maryland Department of Human Services.

Additional highlights include language establishing:

  • Pay equity between existing employees and new hires within the same region and department to ensure current employees are not paid less than new hires
  • The creation of a committee to evaluate the State’s salary scales
  • Safety protections for employees working outdoors during harmful air quality
  • The conversion of contractual employees to full-time positions where possible and ceasing to hire new contractual employees within AFSCME’s job classifications, except in certain cases
  • Retraining or reassignment opportunities for employees impacted by transitions away from fossil fuels
  • Access to leave for positive cases of COVID-19 and to receive COVID-19 and flu vaccinations
  • Expansion of workplace rights

This new contract runs from January 1, 2024 through December 31, 2026. Each year, starting in September, both sides will also come to the table again to negotiate strictly over economic issues, including wages, for the following fiscal year.

“While we still have work to do to address the staffing crisis our state agencies are facing, we recognize that change doesn’t happen overnight. We’re looking forward to continuing our work together on all fronts to staff up our state agencies and ensure that our state services continue to function,” said AFSCME Maryland Council 3 President Patrick Moran during today’s ceremony.

This new agreement comes at a time when Maryland’s state agencies continue to face record-high vacancy rates, high staff turnover, and a looming budget deficit, jeopardizing the state’s ability to deliver quality public services. In the last year, the State has faced alarmingly low staffing levels across the board from its correctional facilities to its public defender offices and more.

On the legislative front, AFSCME Maryland Council 3 is supporting a number of bills being considered during this legislative session that would make state jobs safer and make pursuing a career in state service more attractive. This legislation includes:

  • HB260/SB192 (State Personnel - Collective Bargaining - Supervisory Employees), which would allow over 5,000 state supervisors to collectively bargain and have a voice at work;
  • HB114/SB188 (Arbitration Reform for State Employees Act of 2024), which fixes the collective bargaining process for state employees by allowing binding arbitration in contract negotiations and incentivizing both sides to come with serious proposals;
  • HB609/SB591 (Library Workers Empowerment Act), which would establish a process for public library employees to form and join a union.

“This is the first time in a long time that Maryland has had leadership in Annapolis that supports working people, so I hope we can get some important pro-worker legislation passed in the next month and in the near future and do right by all AFSCME members across Maryland,” concluded AFSCME Maryland President Moran at the end of his remarks.

About AFSCME Maryland Council 3
AFSCME Maryland Council 3 represents nearly 45,000 public service workers in local, city, county and state government as well as in higher education who provide the valuable public services that our communities rely on. From Western Maryland to the Eastern Shore, we make Maryland happen.