Five thousand workers at the University of Maryland Medical Center now have labor protections under the National Labor Relations Board thanks to a bill signed by Gov. Martin O'Malley Monday.
Local labor union 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East had pushed for legislation that would allow the workers to unionize. Attorney General Doug Gansler issued an opinion on the matter last year saying the Maryland General Assembly had the authority to enact legislation subjecting UMMC to Maryland's collective bargaining law.
In Maryland, private hospitals fall under the National Labor Relations Board and public hospitals fall under the Maryland Labor Relations Act. The University of Maryland Medical Center was governed by neither.
UMMC's board will be privatized under the legislation because its board is appointed by the governor, creating a conflict for state labor jurisdiction.