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New Maryland state worker contract offers much-needed pay increases

Photo: Office of Maryland Gov. Wes Moore
New Maryland state worker contract offers much-needed pay increases
By AFSCME Maryland Council 3 ·
Tags: Momentum Wages

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Thousands of Maryland state workers are celebrating their new contract, which will provide much-needed pay raises and take steps to retain current employees and recruit new ones to fill vacant state jobs.

AFSCME Maryland Council 3 members and leaders attended a March 7 signing ceremony with Gov. Wes Moore to finalize the three-year contract, which will take effect retroactive to Jan. 1, 2024 and last through Dec. 31, 2026. The signing is the final step in formalizing the contract after a ratification vote by eligible state employees represented by AFSCME. Over 99% of those who voted supported the agreement.

Workers will receive pay increases ranging from 5% to upwards of 20%, depending on job class, agency and years of service. All state workers covered by an AFSCME contract will receive a cost of living adjustment of 3%, effective July 1, 2024.

All those eligible for a step increase will receive one in the upcoming fiscal year also starting July 1, 2024. Effective Jan. 1, 2025, those who have been continuously employed with the state since June 30, 2019, will receive an additional longevity step. Depending on the position and agency, some state workers will receive additional pay increases and bonuses that are aimed at better recruiting and retaining additional staff.

“Our negotiations with the state this time around were much more productive than in years past. I appreciate the state team for hearing us out and letting me share my story at the bargaining table,” said Cherrish Vick, Council 3’s secretary-treasurer and a caseworker for the Maryland Department of Human Services.

“As someone who has worked for the state for nearly 16 years and who is trying to raise a family here in Maryland, I am appreciative of the raises that we have won that will help make paying my mortgage and child care bills a little easier,” Vick added. “And with better compensation, we’ll be able to attract and retain new employees to alleviate the stressful staffing situations my co-workers and I are facing.”

Additional contract highlights:

Each year the contract is in effect, starting in September, both sides will also come to the table to negotiate over economic issues, including wages, for the following fiscal year.

“While we still have work to do to address the staffing crisis our state agencies are facing, we recognize that change doesn’t happen overnight. We’re looking forward to continuing our work together on all fronts to staff up our state agencies and ensure that our state services continue to function,” said Council 3 President Patrick Moran, who’s also an AFSCME vice president.

This new agreement comes at a time when Maryland’s state agencies continue to face record-high vacancy rates, high staff turnover, and a looming budget deficit, jeopardizing the state’s ability to deliver quality public services. In the last year, the state has faced alarmingly low staffing levels, from its correctional facilities to its public defender offices and more.

Council 3 represents 45,000 public service workers in local, city, county and state governments and higher education institutions throughout Maryland.

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