MPEC Caravan to Stop the Cuts

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When Gov. Hogan proposed to solve the state’s fiscal challenges on the backs of state employees, MPEC stood tall and fought back. President Jerry Smith quickly mobilized the membership to engage in a massive lobbying campaign to members of the Board of Public Works to reject hundreds of millions of dollars in cuts to state workers. Following intense letter writing and phone calling efforts, MPEC held a caravan outside of the Maryland State Treasurer’s Office to encourage Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot to reject the proposed cuts.

Members from across the state gathered in Annapolis. They adorned their cars with signs, turned on their hazard lights and circled the building multiple times. The caravan took place in lieu of a formal rally on account of social distancing measures to protect people from spreading COVID-19. Following the caravan there was a press conference where President Smith and members spoke about why these cuts were such a problem. Mike Travers, a park ranger from the Department of Natural Resources, noted that he and other rangers are essential personnel who worked through the early periods of social distancing as parks were one of the few places Marylanders could go for recreation.

Richelle Johnson, a casino compliance representative, detailed how she and others at her worksite continued to work despite having to bring their own PPE. She used that example to demonstrate why the Board of Public Works should not support the cuts. The caravan followed a similar demonstration by AFSCME earlier in the day in Baltimore. Both unions worked in solidarity to drive home how egregious the cuts would be to state workers. Ultimately, the Board rejected the cuts voting 2-1 to revisit delaying the cuts, giving the union time to negotiate with the state. The Board plans to revisit the state’s fiscal challenges later in the month of July.

For more photos from the event, visit Facebook.