Town of Elkton Employees Demand Revised Labor Code at Mayor and Commissioners Meeting

Employees deliver letter and public comments urging mayor and town commissioners to consider amendments to anti-worker labor code

Elkton — Today, over 20 employees who work for the Town of Elkton urged Elkton Mayor Robert Alt and town commissioners to adopt amendments to a proposed labor code for town employees at their Wednesday meeting.

At the beginning of the meeting, the workers delivered a letter signed by over 120 employees, Elkton residents, and supporters to the mayor and town commissioners. The workers also gave public comments highlighting the costly consequences of the proposed labor code.

Elkton employees began organizing a union last spring, citing the need for safer working conditions, transparency in decision-making, a reliable schedule for pay increases, and respect on the job. At the end of last year, following multiple actions by Elkton employees, Mayor Alt and the town commissioners approved a charter amendment authorizing the creation of a labor code for town employees.

Sadly, this proposed labor code contains numerous unreasonable and costly provisions that are not found in any other labor codes in Maryland. The current draft divides employees into two separate bargaining units with little justification, excludes a number of workers and job titles from being able to participate in the union, defines a majority threshold as 66% instead of the standard 50%+1, and forces the town to go through a costly recertification process for a union every four years despite standard decertification language.

“Forcing employees to re-vote to unionize every four years is incredibly disrespectful. It’s a tactic used in other anti-worker places to demoralize staff, while wasting our town’s time and resources. There is already a provision allowing employees to decertify the union, so this language is redundant and needless. Elkton employees have made our decision to have a union. The board needs to listen to us and should not drain town resources,” said Walt Scott, who works for the town’s Department of Public Works and has lived in Elkton for over 39 years.

“There is a perfectly good labor code already in place that covers sworn officers and non-sworn police civilian employees. All of us do important work for the town of Elkton, and we should all be covered by the same standard. The amendments we offered the board would put the labor code proposed for the rest of us more in line with the standard that sworn officers and police civilian employees already have,” says Jeramie Kivler, a Ground Maintenance Worker for the town.

“Our town police already have a labor code that works, and our proposed amendments would bring this labor code draft closer to the language that we already know works for our town and other employees. By following their example, we could have a labor code that will benefit everyone in Elkton and that will allow us all to avoid costly and repetitive negotiations processes. By including our voices into how we can improve town services, we can figure out how to use our town resources wisely and efficiently. We all want what's best for Elkton, Elkton residents, and Elkton employees, so please don't silence us,” said Tracy Goudy, an Elkton DPW employee of nearly 16 years.

“Splitting up employees into different bargaining units is unnecessary and wastes town money and staff resources. Negotiating two different contracts, dealing with two different labor-management committees, and addressing problems that affect the same staff through two different unions is ineffective and wasteful. We are all Elkton employees with the same mission and the same goals. We are one team, and we should be one union,” said Micki Zeigler, a long-time Elkton employee of almost 18 years and a resident for nearly 49 years.

“Nowhere in Maryland has a labor code that is as egregious as the one that the mayor and commissioners have proposed. Labor codes like this have no place in Maryland. This draft is designed to silence Elkton employees and to take away their voice at work. And this draft code will only hurt Elkton in the long run,” said AFSCME Maryland President Patrick Moran.


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.