Union advocates Wednesday urged residents to vote against ballot Question B this November, and retain the process by which the Montgomery County police union negotiates the effects of management decisions.
“The [Fraternal Order of Police], the [International Association of] Fire Fighters and every other union that represents individuals in the state of Maryland are part of the greater Maryland labor family. And if you attack one, you are going to fight us all,” said Gino Renne, president of the county employee’s union, United Food and Commercial Workers/Municipal and County Government Employees Organization Local 1994.
Question B is about more than the FOP and its relations with Montgomery County, it is about organized labor as a whole, said Joslyn Williams, president of the Metropolitan Washington Council of the AFL-CIO.
“For us to stand by and do nothing is equivalent of a homeowner standing on his porch and veranda while his neighbor’s house is burning down and saying ‘That’s not my house, let my neighbor fight that fire,’” Williams said. “All it takes is a change of wind and one, one spark to challenge your home.”
Thirty years ago Montgomery County made a promise to its police when it established a process for negotiating the effects management decisions have on police and their families, said state Sen. Roger Manno (D-Dist. 19) of Silver Spring.
Asking residents to vote “no” on Question B is asking voters to uphold that promise.
Montgomery County voters will decide Nov. 6 if a bill passed unanimously by the Montgomery County Council in 2011 becomes law and alters bargaining for police.
Voting “yes” would remove the process by which police bargain the effects of management decision such as transfers. Voting “no” keeps things as they are.
FOP Lodge 35 pushed to have voters decide if the bill stays or goes. To put it on the ballot, the FOP collected nearly 40,000 signatures, which were upheld this summer by Maryland’s highest court.
Williams thanked the FOP for their effort to challenge the council’s action.
Allowing the bill to become law in Democratic and progressive Montgomery County — what Williams called “one of the bluest of the blue locations” — would set a dangerous precedent and example for conservatives eyeing limits on collective bargaining, he said.
Del. Charles E. Barkley (D-Dist. 39) of Germantown said he feared it was the top of a slippery slope eliminating bargaining rights in Montgomery County.
Last month, the county’s Democratic Central Committee voted to support the council and urge voters to vote “yes” on Question B. The Republican committee shortly thereafter agreed.
Representatives from about a dozen police, government, education, and trade unions also attended to oppose Question B.