Maryland governor announces labor agreement with unions

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s administration announced that it has reached an agreement with state employee unions for the next fiscal year.

“I am thrilled that we were once again able to collaborate with the exclusive bargaining representatives of the state’s employees and reach agreements that benefit our hardworking and dedicated employees,” Department of Budget and Management Secretary Brinkley said in a statement.

The unions include the Maryland Professional Employees Council, the American Federation of Teachers, the Baltimore Washington International Professional Firefighters Local 1742, and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees or AFSCME.

The agreements affect some 26,000 employees.

The Hogan administration said most employees will receive a 2% cost-of-living increase, effective Jan. 1, 2021. There is also an opportunity to receive a one-time $500 bonus, if revenues for the current fiscal year exceed projections by $75 million.

AFSCME Maryland claimed victory on the 2% cost-of-living increase and attributed it to persistence at the bargaining table and pressure in the workplaces and in the community.

The union said in a statement that an earlier proposal by the Hogan administration offered only a $500 bonus that was contingent on positive budget projections; AFSCME had wanted a 5% cost-of-living increase and two-step increases for all state employees.

Approximately 2,700 social workers, direct care workers, licensed practical nurses, teachers, and other positions that are challenging to recruit and retain, will get an additional 6% pay adjustment to assist with state recruitment and retention efforts.

AFSCME Maryland hailed this as a victory in the bargaining, as well.

The agreements also include incentives for correctional officers and student loan repayment and reimbursement plans for some 6,500 eligible employees.

WTOP’s Michelle Basch and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Abigail Constantino

Abigail Constantino started her journalism career writing for a local newspaper in Fairfax County, Virginia. She is a graduate of American University and The George Washington University.

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