Union rally expected to draw thousands to Md. capital to protest gov’s pension reform plan
BRIAN WITTE | Associated Press
March 13, 2011
Thousands are expected to protest the governor’s pension reform proposal Monday night at a rally organized by Maryland’s largest union for state employees, as budget challenges return to the forefront in the General Assembly after weeks of debate on social issues.
Gov. Martin O’Malley has worked to increase collective bargaining rights in the state, which some labor leaders have said has “collective bargaining lite.” There is no binding arbitration for state workers, and they do not have the right to strike. O’Malley, head of the Democratic Governors Association, has been highlighting his support for organized labor as a stark contrast to Republicans such as Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who signed a bill to all but strip collective bargaining rights from state employees there.
“We have difficult choices ahead of us as a people,” O’Malley said Friday in an interview with The Associated Press. “As one Maryland, we’re going to confront those choices, and we’re going to do it with dignity and respect for all stakeholders: citizens, teachers, union leaders, those that serve our citizens as elected leaders.”
O’Malley is backing legislation this session to allow independent home health care providers to engage in collective bargaining activities with state agencies. Last year, O’Malley won passage of legislation granting collective bargaining rights for day care providers who contract with the state.
But Patrick Moran, director of the Maryland chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, is quick to note it’s the proposed changes to pensions that he expects to draw between 5,000 and 10,000 people to Annapolis, not collective bargaining concerns prompted by Wisconsin.
Read more @ The Republic.