Unions push Gov.Hogan to sign pro-labor bills before end of legislative session
MARYLAND- Key labor legislation in Maryland is heading down to the wire, as Governor Hogan now has less than one day to sign, veto, or let bills pass unsigned. Some of the measures, that passed both houses of the state assembly would create a union for the public defender’s office and paid family medical leave for all workers in the state.
They say they want the Governor to sign the bill, and show workers in the state he stands with them. In a joint press conference leaders of AFSCME Council 3, SEIU Local 500 among other unions called for the governor to make a decision before time runs out.
“This is the typical manner in which the hogan administration has conducted itself,” said AFSCME Council 3 President Patrick Moran. Moran says his union represents state employees across multiple sectors including education and healthcare in the state and tells us the Hogan administration has often acted against the best interest of his members.
“60 percent of the time he has vetoed and the other he ignored and they have eventually gone into law,” he said.
Moran says many of the bills his union is pushing for have veto-proof majorities including the one to give public defenders more of a say in their caseloads.
“These are Lawyers at the Office of the Public Defenders who no one would have thought would organize a union is now saying ‘hey, we want a union we want to have a say in our work,'” Moran said adding “These are committed public servants they could be making a lot more money in private practice and we are seeing more and more people are leaving as the caseloads get greater and greater and before this, they had no voice and no advocates.”
SEIU Local 500’s Legislative Director Travis Simon tells 47ABC, of the nearly 22,000 public sector workers like child care providers and teachers, they represent- and nonunion workers too; the ability to take time off and have better conditions is key to keeping them in the field.
“So many times we are hearing from members and nonmembers these horror stories of their child being really sick and they can’t take time off to care for them, or they are pregnant but their family can’t take time off because they don’t have the time to do so so this will be life-changing for them and non-union workers across the state,” he said.
They say they held the event in coordination with other unions to show the solidarity that workers and their advocates deserve, something they hope to see Governor Hogan, join them on.
“He doesn’t have to veto it,” Simon said adding ” these measures are broadly popular, 87 support across the state and 77 percent of Republicans support paid family medical leave they can rely on.”
Moran says despite criticizing the administration in the past, he would give them all the credit for singing onto this historic packet of legislation.
“If he passes these bills he will get nothing but accolades for it, and if he doesn’t unfortunately he will be seen as an outlier,” he said.