Some University of Maryland employees said they are overworked and undersupported in their positions on campus, and have asked for better university-wide support.
These complaints come as the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 1072, the employees’ union at the university, continues collective bargaining efforts with the University System of Maryland.
The union’s efforts are regarding longstanding and systemic issues, including the consideration of seniority and compensation for employees who are given more work with less people to support them, according to AFSCME Local 1072 president Todd Holden.
Holden said the union has also been raising awareness about and acknowledging that there are overworked employees on campus.
“Certainly when we hear broadly across campus that there is more work to do and less people, especially if you compare pre-pandemic and post-pandemic, that’s a real problem,” Holden said.
Warren Pointer is an electronics technician 3 in the business school, where he has worked for 21 years. He works in a department that is supposed to employ four employees, but currently has three, he said.
Over the summer, Pointer’s department only had two employees, and the department also recently hired a new manager, he said.
Pointer works night shifts four days a week and said he is the only employee in his department on the night shift.
“That’s difficult in of itself, both for operations because I can’t be in two places at the same time, and also, when I need to take off, there’s no one there to relieve me,” Pointer said. “They just keep piling the work on.”
Pointer said he lost 40 hours of annual leave last year because although he wanted to take off work, there was nobody to take over his shift.
Dwonne Knight, a desktop support coordinator for university libraries, has had similar experiences to Pointer at the university. Knight said his department currently has at least two empty positions to fill.
Knight said he lost vacation hours last year because he felt he could not take leave.
“I think it was somewhere over 50 hours worth of leave, and I literally lost it because I could not use it before the end of the year,” Knight said. “I would have been throwing my department to the dogs if I had done it.”
According to Holden, these sentiments are common. He said he has yet to anecdotally hear from someone who does not feel overworked.
Both Knight and Pointer said they would like more support from the university in their positions.
Knight said that workers should be paid a fair wage. When he started working at this university, Knight also began working for a rideshare company.
“People like myself and others should not have to work like two jobs, we should be very comfortable,” Knight added.
The university expressed that it is committed to the wellbeing of its employees in a statement to The Diamondback last week.
According to the statement, the university has made “significant investments” in salaries to support staff and has launched new initiatives focused on employee recognition, career advancement and professional development.
“We are disheartened to learn of the workplace concerns raised by our employees,” the statement read. “The university is committed to investing in the wellbeing and advancement of our people.”
The university urged employees who feel their workloads are not fair to address their concerns with their supervisor or with University Human Resources.