AFSCME Maryland Joins Other Labor Unions in Annapolis to Push For Expanded Collective Bargaining Rights

Bills include expansion of collective bargaining rights for state supervisory employees, library workers, and more

Annapolis, MD – On Thursday, February 1, AFSCME Maryland Council 3 joined a coalition of labor unions led by the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO to show support for a set of bills that would expand collective bargaining rights. State legislators, including Senator Ben Kramer, Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins, Delegate Mark Chang, Delegate Linda Foley, Senator Clarence Lam, Delegate Jared Solomon, and Senator Malcolm Augustine spoke in support of the bills.

The bills included:

  • HB 609/SB 591 (Library Workers Empowerment Act) would allow employees of Maryland’s public libraries to form and join unions and participate in collective bargaining.
  • HB 260/SB 192 (State Personnel - Collective Bargaining - Supervisory Employees) would allow over 4,000 supervisors employed by the State to collectively bargain.
  • HB 493/SB #TBD (State Personnel - Collective Bargaining - Faculty, Part-Time Faculty, Postdoctoral Associates, and Graduate Assistants) would grant collective bargaining rights to faculty, part-time faculty, and graduate assistants at institutions within the University System of Maryland, Morgan State University, and St. Mary's College of Maryland.

A full livestream can be found on the AFSCME Maryland Council 3 Facebook page at: 

Participating unions include AFSCME Maryland Council 3, AFT Maryland, IAMAW, MCGEO (UFCW Local 1994), SEIU Local 500, and UAW.

“Workers want a voice at their workplace. It is well documented that unions built the middle class and are the pathway for workers to create generational wealth. Unions lower income inequality, decrease the wage gap, and increase wages for black and women workers by 20% or more. Through forming and joining unions, employees engage in collective bargaining with their employer to improve working conditions, wages, and benefits. Yet Maryland denies the right to collectively bargain to thousands of public employees. We must pass these bills to enable public employees this right that millions of American workers have — a Voice at work.” said Donna S. Edwards, President of Maryland State & DC AFL-CIO. 

"Without collective bargaining rights, we are left with no mechanism for addressing issues, concerns, or policy changes that affect us all. It’s no surprise many supervisors are deciding to leave, while even more employees are avoiding the promotion altogether, when they see the stressful workloads, low pay, and lack of any say in how we can improve our working conditions. It’s time to pass HB260/SB192 and expand collective bargaining rights to Maryland’s state supervisors," said Nicole Spencer, a Field Supervisor for the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation and member of AFSCME Maryland Council 3.

 “All Marylanders should have the right to form and join unions. Across the state, many public service workers already enjoy the right to collectively bargain. There’s no question that when workers have the ability to negotiate the pay, respect, and working conditions they deserve, they’re able to secure safer working conditions, more sustainable workloads, and adequate resources, and our communities are able to benefit from strong public services,” said Patrick Moran, president of AFSCME Maryland Council 3.

“We formed our union, Anne Arundel Library Workers United, because we want safe working conditions, fair wages, and equal treatment. I believe that it is imperative that the legislature pass the Library Workers Empowerment Act, not just so we have a voice, but also so we can have a long-term relationship with the library system that employs us. I hope legislators do the right thing and pass this bill,” said Craig Wallace, a member of AFSCME Maryland Council 3 and Building Care Technician at the Edgewater Branch for Anne Arundel County Public Libraries.

“The Library Workers Empowerment Act is not just about the present; it's about securing the future for every library worker. By supporting and voting yes for the Library Workers Empowerment Act, the Maryland General Assembly can ensure that each library worker stands tall, knowing they have the support and protection that comes from a collective bargaining agreement. The Library Workers Empowerment Act will make a difference by paving the way for a stronger, more empowered library community. This bill, in conjunction with other collective bargaining legislation, underscores the solidarity among unions. It emphasizes that the path to a more robust working class throughout the state of Maryland can only be won through the collective strength of the labor movement.” said Anita Bass, IAM Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) Local 4538 President, and a Library Service Assistant in Essex, MD.

"Now is the time for the General Assembly to heed the words of the Moore-Miller administration and leave no one behind, this includes public employees seeking collective bargaining. Every worker, private or public, should be free to collectively bargain and the unity demonstrated by labor shows we fight for one another because we truly believe an injury to one is an injury to all," said Kenya Campbell, President of AFT Maryland

“MCGEO is standing in solidarity with our labor siblings to ensure the fundamental right to collectively bargain is afforded to all our fellow workers. When workers stand together there’s nothing we can’t accomplish. Now it’s time for our elected officials to stand with us.” said Gino Renne, President, UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO.

“More than 4,100 graduate workers at UMD are currently organizing with UAW but lack collective bargaining rights under state law. As Director of UAW Region 8, I stand in solidarity with workers at UMD. We urge state lawmakers to pass the three bills this year which expand collective bargaining rights to not only them, but for other categories of public employees in the state of Maryland as well. All working people deserve the right to form a union,” said Tim Smith, Director UAW Region 8.

"The right to collective bargaining is a democratic right that all workers deserve. Our public sector workers in Maryland have had to fight piecemeal each and every year for the General Assembly to grant them the same rights American workers have in many other states. Whether California, New York, or even Florida leading the way, Maryland is falling behind when it comes to workers rights by debating endlessly which public sector workers deserve collective bargaining rights, the answer is simple, all of them. Granting more public sector workers collective bargaining rights means being competitive in a global workforce. Let us not leave anyone behind," said SEIU Local 500.


The Maryland State and D.C. AFL-CIO is the State Federation of unions in Maryland and the District of Columbia. The unions under our federation work in concert to lift up the voices of workers throughout the State and District. Our 700+ affiliates fight for the freedom of every worker to form and join a union and collectively bargain.

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