07/20/2012

Collective bargaining referendum on Ocean City, Md., ballot

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The folks who keep the town of Ocean City, Md., running—beach sweepers, boardwalk crews, bus drivers, recreation staff, clerks, trash collectors and more—just want to be heard. Thus far, they’ve made their voices clear enough to win a place on November’s ballot, where voters will decide whether city general staff should have the right to collective bargaining. Firefighters and police officers there already exercise that right.

The Ocean City Employee Coalition delivered 2,362 signatures on a petition—called “Petition for Town of Ocean City Charter Amendment for Fair and Equal Representation Rights for the General Employees of the Town of Ocean City”—supporting collective bargaining.  The number of signers exceeded the requirement that 20 percent of registered voters sign in order to win a spot on the ballot during voting Nov. 6.

“We feel that the question of our representation should be decided democratically by the voters of Ocean City,” said Ocean City Employee Coalition member Barbara Dahan in a statement. “Having representation rights would grant us the ability to work together to make Ocean City a better place to live and work. We care greatly about the Town of Ocean City and providing the best possible services to the citizens.”

The petition was verified by the Board of Elections Supervisors July 9. The mayor and City Council then voted to accept the petition and place a referendum on collective bargaining on the ballot during the general election. (Other options would have been to vote directly on collective bargaining themselves, or hold a special election specifically for the collective bargaining issue.)

The Dispatch, an Ocean City newspaper, published this article about the successful petition drive. [Virginia Myers]

July 20, 2012