February 28, 2024

Testimony in Annapolis for Labor in higher education across Maryland!

Colleagues,

As you know by now, your MC-AAUP Chapter has been supporting community colleges and 4-year institutions across the state of Maryland in their efforts to organize labor groups at their respective institutions. Of course, our Chapter has been enabled through state legislation for over 40 years but up until last year, we were the only institution in higher education in Maryland with collective bargaining rights. As a matter of fact, we are still the only full-time faculty group who has an actual contract. 

However, when we need to go to Annapolis to advocate for Montgomery College or higher education in general, we know that there is strength in numbers. So, it is certainly reasonable to want to advocate for our colleagues across the state…., and we have done just that. In fact, we have been quite active in the current legislative session as there are several Bills being considered that directly or indirectly impact all FTF faculty.

House Bill 275 and Senate Bill 175 are being vetted this year by our State representatives. This would provide “the right” for full-time faculty and graduate assistants to decide “if” they want to organize and collectively bargain. Well, what do you think most of them will do if given this opportunity? One other Bill being considered would allow for union dues to be tax deductible!

To this end, we have spent the last several months supporting this effort. Faculty from many institutions including UMD, Towson, Howard CC, CCBC, PGCC, College of Southern MD, Harford CC, and others have reached out to us for guidance. Further, we have been working with AFT to support their advocacy efforts on these Bills through various lobbying efforts. 

This past week I was asked to submit written testimony to the House and Senate in favor of this legislation. In addition, on Tuesday I appeared in person to testify at the House and then Thursday provided virtual oral testimony at the Senate. This was time consuming and arduous work, but we are hopeful that this is the year that State government finally empowers FTF across the state to organize and advocate, with leverage, for themselves. 

We will update you on the progress of these Bills but if you want to read the testimony that was submitted, please read what is attached. This document is a combination of oral and written testimony that was submitted this past week. You can also find it on our website as of next week.

But please know that at the request of AFT, some of this was edited for testimony on Thursday to counter what various members of Management across the state had argued on Tuesday at the House hearing. So, a small part of this may seem a bit out of place to those who were not there both days to gain perspective with context of all the dialogue. But know that it did resonate, and counter specific arguments related to Shared Governance and compensation for Graduate Assistants.  

If you want to take it a step further, reach out to your state representative and share your thoughts, but please do so, soon!

Best,

Tito

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