Maryland - Home Care Providers Win Historic 1st Contract
Bargaining team members for more than 4,500 independent home care providers in Maryland represented by AFSCME Council 67 applaud as MD's Gov. signs an agreement in July that will help them gain dignity and respect for the vital work they perform.
Historic Day - Bargaining team members for more than 4,500 independent home care providers in Maryland represented by AFSCME Council 67 applaud as Gov. Martin O'Malley (D-MD) signs an agreement in July that will help them gain dignity and respect for the vital work they perform. Shown (left to right) are providers Delores Molock Khan, Roslyn Boston and Noreen Right. (Photo credit: Luis Gomez)
In their second victory since voting to join Council 67 in 2008, approximately 4,500 independent home care providers throughout Maryland now have a contract that will help improve the conditions of their work and the services they offer.
“We have worked diligently to negotiate a contract that demands respect for our time and our work.” says home care provider Tijuana Miller, a member of the bargaining team. “We are some of the lowest-wage workers in Maryland and yet we are the core of the community. Now, we have the opportunity to receive better wages and training opportunities and we can negotiate the things we want in our workplace.”
“It has been long overdue,” adds Glen Middleton, executive director of Council 67 and an International vice president. “The providers, who offer essential services to the citizens of Maryland, finally have a voice in the workplace just like other workers.”
The three-year agreement, ratified this summer, includes a first-year, 4 percent rate hike for approximately 2,500 providers working in the lowest-paid Medicaid Personal Care program. The increase is dependent on the State Legislature approving an amended rate regulation.
The agreement also sets up a state-provider cooperation committee to address health and safety concerns, and to identify opportunities for professional development.
A “Bill of Rights,” included in the contract, recognizes that providers should be treated professionally, with courtesy, dignity and respect; and the right to timely reimbursement of covered services.
AFSCME represents approximately 95,000 independent home care providers nationwide.