State workers’ union lobbies Maryland university system board of trustees for pay raise


Workers rallied outside the meeting of the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland on Friday morning in a bid to lend an ear to leaders for better wages and working conditions. There were about 100 people, some of whom were university employees, who even marched into the current meeting to get the attention of the board members to no avail. The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has been outraged that pay increases from a nearly $2 billion state surplus are not trickling down to university workers.

Standing on the steps of the Adele H. Stamp Student Union building, union leaders said they were demanding higher wages, safer working conditions and emergency leave. The union is also pushing for a new contract that applies to all universities in the system, to negotiate with the board, instead of individual contracts with each campus.

The aim is for the contract to be “fair and put people first and their business second”, said AFSCME Council 3 Chairman Patrick Moran.

The Maryland General Assembly voted last year to allow all University of Maryland institutions to have a collective bargaining agreement. Governor Larry Hogan vetoed the bill but it was overruled by the state legislature.

Prior to the bill, contracts were negotiated between each bargaining unit and each university.

As the meeting of the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland prepared to begin, Saul Walker, a multi-business leader at the College Park campus, led workers and organizers into the meeting.

On Friday morning, members of the University of Maryland Employees Union broke into the meeting of the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland.

Despite the outburst, none of the board members responded to workers or union officials to commit to sitting at the bargaining table.

Walker said employees were forced to work with a limited amount of personal protective equipment and in hazardous conditions such as heavily moldy buildings and extreme heat.

In return, employees are paid “very minimally, for the work we do and for what we have to go through,” he said.

The minimum hourly wage at the University of Maryland for non-exempt workers ranges from $15 to $32 per hour, according to the university’s website. The minimum wage for workers is $15 per hour, or $31,286 per year, which something the union fought for last year.

According to his analysis of salaries in 2019.

The University of Maryland says Maryland Matters in September 2021, it was “ready to engage in consolidated collective bargaining as soon as SB 9 becomes law”. The university did not dispute the union analysis at the time.

Women earned 86% of the median salary of their male counterparts, according to union analysis. Black and Hispanic workers earned significantly less than their white colleagues.

Maryland State Delegate Nicole Williams, who represents District 22, which includes Prince George’s County where the university’s main campus is located, backed the union demands.

Williams said the University of Maryland is one of the largest employers in the state and should be held accountable for calling on the board to negotiate a fair contract.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to accurately reflect the number of people at the rally and to further clarify which Council of Regents union members attended.


Comments are closed.