Salisbury City Workers Win Formal Recognition of Their Union

The city’s general government employees have spent the past year tirelessly organizing after the city charter was amended to allow for collective bargaining.

Salisbury – General government workers employed by the City of Salisbury, have won formal recognition of their union after the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) certified majority support within the bargaining unit. This victory was made possible after Salisbury City Council members April Jackson, Muir Boda, Angela Blake, Michele Gregory, and Megan Outten voted to amend the city charter and pass a labor code to grant collective bargaining rights to all city employees within three distinct units: police, fire, and general government. 

In October of 2022, following the charter amendment, a handful of workers from various city departments reached out to AFSCME to begin organizing. In the months following, the bargaining unit has grown to include over 200 workers from nearly every department in the City of Salisbury.  

Kyla Cupp, a GIS Analyst in Salisbury had this to say: "When I heard we were organizing our union, I was excited to have a process where we feel empowered to speak up and use our voices. This will allow employees to solidify what we like about working for the city and to improve the things that need change. Whether it's about staffing, resources, or making our jobs more efficient, employees having a voice in our work means the whole city gets better services."  

Patrick Moran, President of AFSCME Maryland Council 3 says: “It’s encouraging to see more and more cities and towns amending their laws to allow for collective bargaining. We’re looking forward to working with the city to ensure that the hard-working, essential employees of Salisbury get the fair treatment they deserve. Every worker, in every department, in every city across the state deserves a voice in their workplace.” 

“The old system of personnel committees fell short in participation and any real influence. We’re hopeful that a union will better allow for all employees to be heard.” - Pete Torigoe, Wastewater Plant Mechanic 

“In my 18 years working for the city, I’ve tried hard to speak up for myself and my coworkers. A lot of the time we could only get so far. There was no real way to get the resources we knew we needed, and many requests went unanswered. With a union it won’t just be me speaking up. We’ll have a unified voice to fight for the opportunities and support we deserve,” said Steve Gravenor, Meter Technician III 

Workers in Salisbury formed their union to address concerns around fair and consistent treatment, competitive wages, advancement opportunities and continuing education, transparency from administration, improved parental leave, adequate staffing levels, safe and functional equipment, and improved safety standards on the job. Thanks to the dedication of the city workers who led this organizing effort, along with former Salisbury Mayor Jake Day who began the efforts to amend the city charter, hundreds of employees working for the Salisbury City government will have the opportunity to have a voice in the policies that govern their workplaces. 


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 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.