Employees at 4 state agencies vote to unionize -- Gazette.Net


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Nearly 1,500 Maryland workers at four state agencies will be represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees after the majority of workers who cast their ballots voted for unionization.

AFSCME Council 3 received nearly 70 percent of the mail-in votes cast that were tallied Jan. 23 by the Maryland Labor Relations Board.

The employees with the Office of the Comptroller, Department of Education, the Retirement and Pension System and the state Transportation Authority had not been included in the original 1997 collective bargaining order issued by then-Gov. Parris Glendening, said Jeff Pittman, communications director for AFSCME Maryland.

The legislature approved a bill allowing the workers to petition and vote whether to be represented by a union or be non-affiliated.

The Maryland Department of Labor Relations Board had mailed out 1,475 ballots to workers eligible to vote and received a return of about 52 percent, said Erica Lell Snipes, executive director of the board. The election results have not been finalized because there is a standard eight-day period to allow people to object to the results, Snipes said.

Under the agreement, the union will represent the employees in contract negotiations. Previously, each agency had separate contracts for the workers that differed in some ways, such as how time off is accrued, for similar workers at other state agencies, Pittman said.

cford@gazette.net