Maryland Unions Help Pass Fair Share Legislation

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Public employee unions in Maryland scored a big victory when the state Legislature passed a "fair share" bill on April 13, the final day of the legislative session. The bill allows unions to negotiate fair share provisions, which would let them require everyone in a bargaining unit, including nonmembers, to pay fees to cover the cost of union representation.

"Nonunion workers benefit when the union negotiates a contract for better wages, healthcare coverage, and other employment terms and conditions," says AFT-Maryland president Lorretta Johnson, who is also the AFT's executive vice president. "Because nonunion workers benefit from the work unions do on their behalf, we feel it is only fair that these nonunion workers share in the cost of that work."

AFT-Maryland and other unions in the state, with strong support from Gov. Martin O'Malley, lobbied hard for the bill in this legislative session. Almost 1,000 union members gathered in Annapolis in late March for a lively rally in support of fair share and other legislation to protect public services. O'Malley, who spoke at the rally, was elected with strong labor support in 2006.

April 14, 2009