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Workers for Salisbury, Maryland, unanimously ratify first contract

Credit: AFSCME Maryland Council 3.
Workers for Salisbury, Maryland, unanimously ratify first contract
By AFSCME Maryland Council 3 ·
Tags: Momentum

SALISBURY, Md. – City of Salisbury workers voted unanimously on May 22 to ratify the Maryland city’s first union contract for general government employees.

About 200 workers in the general government unit formed a union through AFSCME Maryland Council 3 last year.

“It’s incredible to see the results of all of our hard work and organizing in this last year. Through this bargaining and ratification process, we have had a chance to speak up and use our voices to protect what we love about our job and to improve on the issues that have concerned us. Now, everyone who lives in Salisbury will benefit from city employees having a voice in our work,” said Samantha Gray, a police communications officer.

Contract highlights include approximately 6% in total raises for full- and part-time employees over the two years of the contract, with approximately 4% in raises going into effect on July 1, 2024, and another 2% in raises going into effect next January.

In addition, the contract includes language establishing on-call pay, a pay premium for working during weather emergencies and Christmas, an expansion of pay premiums for those working evening and night shifts, more workplace rights and protections, additional benefits including expanded family leave provisions, and more.

“In the past, our perspectives and voices weren’t really being heard or considered in the personnel committees the city used to do. With this contract, we’ve finally been heard, and I’m proud of the work that our bargaining team has done to ensure everyone will be compensated more fairly, receive better benefits, and be respected and appreciated on the job,” said Pete Torigoe, a wastewater treatment plant mechanic.

Council 3 President Patrick Moran called the ratification “a historic accomplishment” for the city’s workers.

“Last year, they established the first union for city workers east of the Bay Bridge, and today, they have ratified their first contract. This process is a reminder of what can be accomplished when public sector employers work in partnership with their employees to establish and maintain the highest quality of public services possible,” Moran said.

The workers won formal recognition of their union last fall after the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service (FMCS) certified majority support within the bargaining unit. Their victory established the first union of city employees in Maryland’s Eastern Shore region.

The workers formed their union to address concerns around fair and consistent treatment, competitive wages, advancement opportunities and continuing education, decision-making transparency from city administrators, parental leave, staffing levels, safe and functional equipment, and safety standards on the job.

Council 3 represents nearly 45,000 public service workers in Maryland who work in local, city, county and state governments, higher education and the private sector.

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