Skip to main content

University of Maryland workers rally to expand and protect access to telework

University of Maryland workers are making their case loud and clear – they can serve their community by working remotely and school administrators need to create a uniform telework policy rather than force them to return to the office in early August.

As COVID cases are on the rise in Maryland and throughout the nation, about 600 workers who are part of Local 1072 (AFSCME Maryland Council 3), rallied on the College Park campus on July 14 seeking an extension of telework for the entire summer.

They demanded that university President Darryll Pines negotiate a fair telework policy. Local 1072 represents over 3,400 staff on campus, including around 2,000 who have been successfully teleworking during the last 16 months of the coronavirus pandemic.

The university plans to require staff to return to their offices by Aug. 2. Earlier this summer, more than 640 staff members signed and delivered a petition to Pines urging him to meet with their union. At the rally, speakers continued to urge him to meet with union representatives. Members are concerned about limited child and elder care options as well as reduced public transit options, which is leaving many scrambling for alternate solutions.

Under the university’s old policy negotiated prior to the pandemic, access to telework is decided by an individual’s supervisor or manager. Local 1072 members are demanding a standardized access and procedure to ensure fairness on campus.

“Nothing prevents UMD's leadership from recognizing the scope of peoples' need and engaging in day-to-day problem solving with AFSCME outside of bargaining. They are only choosing for it to be this way,” said Todd Holden, Local 1072’s president. “By reverting decisions about telework access to individual managers and supervisors, campus leadership has created a patchwork of vastly different and wholly inequitable outcomes across the institution.”

This year, union members organized to get a law passed requiring the chancellor of the University System of Maryland to negotiate one contract covering all 12 higher education institutions. Although Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed this legislation, members are expecting a veto override and are urging the USM to begin negotiating now.

Council 3 members will continue the fight at another virtual and in person rally with campuses across Maryland on Aug. 5 to urge the University System of Maryland to negotiate one contract covering all schools – including the College Park campus.

Related Posts