Voting for democracy and a better life

In the leadup to the midterm elections, pundits predicted a red wave, even a tsunami, based on polls, historical precedent, and steep gas and grocery prices. But I had my doubts. I spent the weeks before the elections talking to voters and traveling on the AFT Votes bus, rolling through a dozen states with more than 50 stops. In a year when kitchen table issues, democracy and our freedoms were on the ballot, many people told me that the elections came down to a choice between, on the one side, election deniers and extremists stoking fear, and on the other, problem-solvers working to help the country move forward. Many races were close, but Americans turned the tide from a red wave to a swell of support for progress and problem-solvers. Read the full column here.

Sharing more pathways to student debt relief

As the landscape of student debt shifts, and more and more opportunities allow borrowers to have their debt relieved, the AFT is using every avenue to ensure that the word is out. In affiliate meetings, telephone town halls, media coverage and social media, the union is spreading the news, and at a student debt clinic at AFT headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 31, AFT President Randi Weingarten vowed to reach as many people as possible with information that could save them tens—and sometimes hundreds—of thousands of dollars.

NOMINATIONS FOR OFFICERS AND DELEGATES

NOMINATIONS FOR OFFICERS AND DELEGATES

Maryland Professional Employees Council Election of Officers and Delegates to Convention

In accordance with the Constitution and By Laws of the Maryland Professional Employees Council, (MPEC), AFT-Maryland, American Federation of Teachers (AFT), AFL-CIO, attached is the Nominations Form for the election of Executive Officers  and the Convention Delegates to the AFT Convention, the AFT-Maryland Convention and the Maryland State AFL-CIO Convention.

44TH LEGISLATIVE SESSION

 

The 44th Session of the General Assembly of Maryland has ended, and the legislature has presented its approved bills to the Governor. The Governor now has until May 30th to act on passed legislation by signing, vetoing, or allowing them to become law through passivity i.e., neither signing nor vetoing.

Throughout this legislative session, MPEC members united to improve and defend employee protections and benefits. The below bills resulted in a favorable outcome for MPEC members and their families:

HB 139 

Requires all teachers in Juvenile Services and the Department of Labor to be in the professional services of State Personnel Management. This will bring those teachers into the bargaining unit. Effective July, 2022.

SB 275-Veto Override

Creates the Maryland Family and Medical Leave Insurance (FAMLI)Program. Maryland is now one of ten states, plus the District of Columbia, to enact a law that provides benefits (paid leave) for an employee’s serious health condition, the birth or adoption of a child, the serious health condition of an employee’s relative, or for a qualifying exigency of a family member of an individual serving in the military. The law goes into effect on June 1, 2022, but benefits will not be available until January 2025.

HB 172 

Allows union dues to be tax-deductible.  Effective date July 1, 2022. 

SB 541- The Maryland Outdoors Act

Improves state park infrastructure, capacity, accessibility, and employee retention. Some specifics include:

  • Renames Park Ranger Associates to Park Rangers
  • Adds Park Rangers to the Hometown Heroes tax deferment 
  • Gives Park Rangers the ability to issue parking citations
  • Covers Park Rangers under presumptive language on Lyme Disease 
  • Provides $12 million for the hiring and retaining of state park personnel

Effective Jun 1, 2022

SB 794- Successfully STOPPED

This bill was successfully stopped. It would have given complete autonomy to MSDE’s management without accountability and stripped employee protections. If passed, the agency would not have to follow the standard protocols for hiring, advancement, or termination of employees.

Together, we will continue working towards a better work-life in state service as we strengthen and increase our collective efforts.