State labor board moves unfair labor practice complaint against UMD forward

Hagerstown Hall, one of the dorms on the University of Maryland's campus. (Gabby Baniqued/The Diamondback)

Maryland’s State Higher Education Labor Relations Board has decided to move forward an unfair labor practice complaint against the University of Maryland.

The union that represents this university’s workers — the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 3 Local 1072 — filed the complaint in July, alleging that housekeepers on campus did not receive the proper equipment or training to do their jobs safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a report signed by executive director Erica Snipes, the labor board said there is sufficient probable cause of alleged collective bargaining related violations for a hearing before them or through a delegation to the Office of Administrative Hearings. 

Snipes wrote that the union has presented appropriate allegations of unfair labor practices, and that the university’s defenses do not dispute themespecially since the university agreed with the majority of facts presented by the union. 

Both the union and the university agreed that there is a collective bargaining relationship, that workers wanted to bargain on health and safety issues and that the university declined to do so, Spines wrote. The disagreement, however, is about whether the university has an obligation to bargain with the union, and whether the university violated state rules on personnel management. 

The university does not comment on pending complaints or litigation proceedings, according to a statement provided by university spokesperson Natifia Mullings.

Todd Holden, interim president of AFSCME Local 1072, wrote in a text message that the union is glad the complaint moved forward. 

“In a state like Maryland, it should be obvious that workers have a voice in making their workplaces safe,” he wrote. “We continue to invite UMD’s leadership to the table to craft agreements.” 

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