The largest union for state government employees says Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has declined to give its members a 1% raise that other state workers are getting as the new year begins.
Leaders of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees contend all state employees — nonunion or represented by any union — are due the cost-of-living increase.
But the Hogan administration did not give the increase to most AFSCME members.
“They are denying hardworking men and women — taxpayers — the money they earned,” said Patrick Moran, president of AFSCME Council 3. He said nearly 19,000 state workers in the AFSCME union are missing out on the pay increase; some members who work in higher education did receive it.
The Hogan administration countered that it is not bound to extend the raises to all workers.
“AFSCME leaders are playing their same old game of trying to pick fights with the administration, but we were glad to reach an agreement with them this week, along with all of our state employee unions,” Mike Ricci, a spokesman for the Republican governor, said Friday,
The Hogan administration and AFSCME reached an agreement on a 2% cost-of-living increase and the possibility of a $500 bonus for union members. The agreement is for the fiscal year that begins July 1; the raise is to go into effect Jan. 1, 2021.
However, the administration and AFSCME didn’t have an agreement for the current year; each side accused the other of unfair labor practices. A state administrative judge found in the union’s favor, ruling that the Hogan administration set inappropriate ground rules for negotiations. Even without an agreement, Hogan put a 3% raise for AFSCME members in his budget that covers the current year.
State lawmakers also put language in the budget specifying there should be an across-the-board increase of 1% as of Jan. 1, 2020, for all state workers, on top of any other agreements, said Del. Maggie McIntosh, chairwoman of the House of Delegates Appropriations Committee.
“It clearly was our intent that this 1% go to all state employees — not just a few,” said McIntosh, a Baltimore Democrat.
Del. Marc Korman, an Appropriations Committee member who worked on the related portion of the budget, said he’s concerned the Hogan administration is treating AFSCME members differently than other employees.
“He clearly has his favored unions,” said Korman, a Montgomery County Democrat.
Moran said the union is researching its next steps to try to get the 1% for its members.
“We’re going to use every single tool at our disposal: legal, legislative, public pressure,” he said. “Whatever is at our disposal, we will be engaging.”