The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Councils 3 and 67 are unifying to create one council that will represent nearly 45,000 workers in Maryland.
The unification began in April after the AFSCME International Union and executive boards of Council 3 and Council 67 voted in its favor. Current Council 3 president Patrick Moran will lead the new unified council, called AFSCME Maryland.
“This is an exciting time to be a part of AFSCME in Maryland,” Council 67 treasurer Dorothy Bryant said in a press release. “This is a new chapter towards building power for all public service workers in Maryland and ensuring strong public services in every one of our communities.”
Council 67 represents nearly 15,000 state workers in Maryland cities, counties and school boards. This includes staff of several community colleges, including ones in Prince George’s, Montgomery and Baltimore counties.
Council 3 represents nearly 30,000 workers at Maryland’s state agencies and public universities including the University System of Maryland, Morgan State University and St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
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State and university workers represented by Council 3 received collective bargaining rights in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The unification comes as both councils are now at a similar place with rights and challenges, according to a statement from Council 3.
These two councils also have a history of working together, including providing joint endorsements for candidates in a past election, according to current Council 67 president Dale Chase.
The councils also fought together against efforts to privatize Baltimore City’s water system and to organize unions for workers at the Enoch Pratt Free Library and Baltimore Museum of Art, Chase said.
“We are looking forward to working with elected leaders across the state as one strong union ready to advocate for what all public service employees in Maryland deserve,” Chase said in a press release.
The resources AFSCME provides to its members will not change with the unification, Moran said in a press release. The two councils can now combine knowledge, resources and power to make changes in the workplace, he said.
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AFSCME Local 1072, an exclusive bargaining agent that represents more than 3,400 employees at the University of Maryland, is part of Council 3. AFSCME Local 1072 president Todd Holden said he is excited about the change because it will bring more opportunities to Maryland’s labor force.
When Local 1072 members take action in College Park, they can now call upon members who work for other local institutions for support, according to a statement from Council 3.
AFSCME Maryland will represent more workers and pave the way for growth, Holden said.
“Bringing community colleges together with the USM institutions…really just represents an opportunity for us to learn things from each other and to help further build bridges,” Holden said.