Hundreds of Maryland state workers rallied in Annapolis on Wednesday night with a goal of pressuring Gov. Larry Hogan to increase their wages.
“Folks were rallying tonight because the lack of raises,” said Katie Moy-Santos, spokeswoman for Council 3 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, or AFSCME.
“We’re almost 11 percent behind D.C. and Pennsylvania in terms of pay,” she said.
Moy-Santos said the Hogan administration had not yet agreed to negotiations but hoped that the rally — held on the eve of early voting in Maryland — would put pressure on the governor to act.
Those who support Hogan, she said, are “supporting a governor that’s letting our state government become the smallest its ever been.”
In a statement, the union representing state workers said “excessive caseloads, low wages, and a staffing crisis” had led to a drop in the quality of public services.
A representative for the Hogan administration called the rally “an unfortunate setback” in the negotiation process and noted that the workers lacked a permit to demonstrate.
The administration had provided a 2.5 percent raise, as well as a $500 bonus, for every employee this fiscal year, said Amelia Chasse, director of communications for Hogan’s office.
Moy-Santos said employees at the march included those from Baltimore’s department of social services, the state’s health department, parole and probation office, and department of public safety and correctional services.
Patrick Moran, a union representative, said wages for state workers are too low to attract and keep employees. A worker shortage — 2,500 positions vacant, according to the union — had caused staffing problems at agencies around the state.