Unlimited Access. Try it Today! Your First 10 Days Always $0.99

Readers Respond

News Opinion Readers Respond

Union fee will protect workers — and improve state services

I am writing in response to the recent letter to the editor by Dels. Gail Bates and Warren Miller, "Money grab by state employee unions makes workplace less free," bashing state employees' organizations, and suggesting that democracy, patriotism and "freedom in the Maryland workforce," are somehow threatened by Maryland state unions and the recently approved Fair Share contract provision.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees' collective bargaining team supported the Fair Share provision. It was part of a comprehensive agreement that includes the elimination of furloughs and pay cuts, the addition of "furlough recovery days" associated with the holidays, and a $750 bonus to be spread through the year along with many other positive changes. Contrary to information from Delegates Bates and Miller, the bonus will only apply to employees hired before July 1 so that only those who suffered from previous pay cuts and furloughs will benefit from it.

Our members support Fair Share because it will enable AFSCME to more effectively represent more than 21,000 state employees. To date, this has been done with fewer than 10 staff representatives and very limited resources. As we move forward, AFSCME will be able to provide comprehensive education on employee rights and benefits, develop a more effective shop steward system, engage in more productive labor management meetings, and, in the end, create a more productive and responsive state workforce.

In turn, this provision will mean better services to those who desperately need them, more safety in prisons and other workplaces, and overall, a more efficient workforce.

Collective bargaining is an integral part of America's history. It helped us build this great nation and it has long been accepted as a legitimate way to increase democracy in the workplace. As Ronald Reagan once said, " ...where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost."

The bottom line is that the ability of state unions to do their job will be enhanced by the Fair Share provision; the state employees will be able to perform their jobs more effectively, and the citizens of Maryland will benefit.

Sue Esty, Annapolis

The writer is assistant director of AFSCME Maryland.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • What's a 'normal' president? How about one who's competent?
    What's a 'normal' president? How about one who's competent?

    I would hope that "normal" for the occupant of the White House would signify someone who displays competency in both domestic and foreign policy ("Does 'normal' mean a white man in the White House?" April 19). With absolutely no experience in foreign affairs, much less diplomacy, the present occupant...

  • Antidepressants Germanwings suicide
    Antidepressants Germanwings suicide

    In the op-ed "Antidepressants: A deadly treatment?" (April 11), Patrick Hahn links antidepressants to violence, specifically, suicide and homicide. He referred to reports made by Drs. Arnold Beisser and James Blanchard in 1961 about antidepressants increasing patient suicide rates. First, it is...

  • Rate increases lead to delinquent water bills
    Rate increases lead to delinquent water bills

    There is a good reason why some city residents have fallen behind on their water bills ("Protesters call on mayor to stop water shut-offs over unpaid bills," April 16). The cost is simply too high. When I purchased a property in the city in April 2013, the rate for water consumption was $3.197...

  • Rawlings-Blake water shut-offs are inhumane
    Rawlings-Blake water shut-offs are inhumane

    The United States searches for planets that have water. Scientists predict disaster for continents with insufficient water. Disease and epidemics spread in countries without clean water, as the U.N.'s public health workers know all too well. And kids here can be sent into foster care if they live...

  • Three simple rules to avoid police brutality
    Three simple rules to avoid police brutality

    Throughout the nation the alleged cases of police brutality have been in the forefront of the news ("Gray dies a week after his arrest," April 20). Everyone seems to be scrambling to get a handle on what is going on with our law enforcement officers, as there are more allegations than ever. There...

  • Hogan an environmental governor? Not if you like to breathe clean air
    Hogan an environmental governor? Not if you like to breathe clean air

    The article "Chesapeake Bay's surprising wins" (April 15) pointed out several key victories for environmental legislation coming out of the 2015 legislative session. This isn't surprising considering our newly elected governor, Larry Hogan, has promised to be the "best environmental governor that's...