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University System of Maryland workers demand that USM come to the negotiating table

Photo: Ryan Kosmides, Unsplash
University System of Maryland workers demand that USM come to the negotiating table
By AFSCME Maryland Council 3 and AFSCME International Staff ·

COLLEGE PARK, Md. Members of AFSCME Maryland Council 3 who work for Maryland’s public universities are demanding better treatment and a fair contract from the University System of Maryland (USM). 

Council 3 members allege that the USM has long exploited its workforce through a variety of means, including:

Council 3 members and allies rallied at the University of Maryland-College Park on Sept. 16 ahead of a Board of Regents meeting. They are increasing the pressure on the regents to negotiate their first consolidated contract with the state university system.

Last year, the Maryland General Assembly overrode Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of SB 9, which empowered workers at all 12 USM campuses to negotiate directly with USM decision-makers under one contract. The new law is designed to ensure a level playing field for workers to negotiate over pay, health and safety provisions and other issues.

Relford Matthews Sr., a maintenance mechanic at the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore and a Council 3 board member said, “USM leaders want to tout … increasing diversity, but they currently bar employees from being able to simultaneously use the internal grievance procedure and file EEO (equal employment opportunity) complaints. All the diversity committees in the world don’t fix the major wage disparities that we’re seeing across the USM between women and men as well as people of color and their white peers. If USM leaders were serious about addressing these disparities, Regents could join us at our negotiation sessions.” 

Patrick Moran, president of Council 3, said, “It’s time for the USM to come to the table ready to work, to help move employees and the campus culture forward and be a leader in the nation instead of trailing behind. Our members give it their all every single day to ensure the campuses run smoothly. The posturing, divisiveness and disrespect USM management shows our membership is insulting. It's time for USM leadership, including the Board of Regents and the chancellor, to come to the negotiating table and show their respect for USM employees and the vital work they do.” 

 Council 3 is the state’s largest union for public service employees, representing nearly 30,000 employees in Maryland state government and public higher education institutions. 

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