Maryland State and D.C. AFL-CIO


Dear Labor Leaders,


The Maryland General Assembly started a little over a month ago and we have reviewed nearly 3500 pieces of legislation and testified on over four dozen bills that impact our unions and workers. Monday Labor Lobbyist Meetings are well attended by a broad spectrum of union activist leaders who discuss bills, strategize for passing legislation, and current legislative events.


The information below is just a small part of the legislative work we do for our unions, members, and workers.


“We Are All United in the Fight for Collective Bargaining”

The State Federation support for legislation that builds and strengthens our labor movement is paramount. Bills that expand the right of public sector workers to collectively bargain strengthen all of us by increasing union density in Maryland and D.C. On February 1, the Maryland State & DC AFL-CIO held a press conference with six unions that have collective bargaining bills (AFT Maryland, AFSCME Maryland Council 3, IAMAW, MCGEO - UFCW Local 1994, SEIU Local 500, and UAW) and over two dozen legislators. We came together to send a simple message: “Labor is united in support of collective bargaining!”


If you would like to watch the press conference in full, you can watch video live streams here:


When labor supports each other, we win! These bills grant collective bargaining rights to thousands of workers in Maryland. HB 260 (SB 192) creates a new bargaining unit for state supervisors with collective bargaining rights. HB 493 (SB 823) expands collective bargaining in the University System of Maryland to faculty, part-time faculty, postdoctoral associates, and graduate assistants. HB 609 (SB 591) grants collective bargaining rights to all public library workers across the state that do not already have it. The State Federation is working closely with the impacted unions to demonstrate to legislators how united our unions are in support of collective bargaining rights. Additionally, there is a bill (HB 114 / SB188) to grant state workers binding interest arbitration that the State Federation has testified in favor of. We are also watching SB 690 Community Colleges - Collective Bargaining - Supervisory Employees to ensure it does not negatively impact our unions with workers at community colleges by excluding workers from collective bargaining by labeling them as supervisors.


“Supporting the Building Trades & Fighting Workplace Fraud”

The State Federation’s support for building and strengthening our labor movement requires fighting hard to expand opportunities for good career pathways, safety protections for all workers, and guardrails around low-road contractors. Encouraging Project Labor Agreements, requiring paying the prevailing wage, or mandating apprenticeship utilization can all grow our building trades unions and create high road jobs. HB 682 (SB 696) - Energy Generation Projects - Labor and Minority Business Enterprise Requirements re-introduces the language from prior years that would establish a prevailing wage requirement on all energy generation projects over 1 MW in size, regardless of energy type. HB 513 (SB 479 - Motor Vehicles - Work Zone Speed Control Systems - Revisions (Maryland Road Worker Protection Act of 2024) helps protect our state’s roadway workers, to prevent future tragedies and accidents, by expanding the number of speed cameras in roadway construction zones and expanding funding for road safety programs. SB 436 (HB 465) - Workplace Fraud and Prevailing Wage - Violations - Penalties and Referrals was reintroduced and would create criminal penalties for knowing violations of the state’s wage theft and workplace fraud laws. It also requires that the state mandatorily refer wage theft cases to the appropriate authorities so these violations of tax law can be investigated, prosecuted, and the state made whole. We also supported SB 583 (HB 554) - Public Utilities - Investor-Owned Utilities - Prevailing Wage which deleted arbitrary language from the 2022 Climate Solutions Now Act that only applied prevailing wage requirements to underground utility work. Building trades unions should pay close attention to the aforementioned apprenticeship bills. 


“New Apprenticeship Programs and Changes Proposed”

For over 100 years, unions created and managed the gold standard of workforce training programs - apprenticeships. Instead of expanding apprenticeships by providing more pipelines for unions to get more work, states across the country have explored ways to create business friendly workforce training programs with government subsidies and call them apprenticeships. The State Federation served over the interim on the Apprenticeship 2030 Commission, along with the Baltimore DC Building Trades, AFT-MD, and AFSCME MD, and flagged concerns about potential apprenticeship proposals at our annual legislative conference. 

HB 650 (SB 511) Labor and Employment - Apprenticeship Standards - Ratio of Apprentices to Journeypersons proposes loosening up the regulation requiring a one to one apprenticeship ratio to three to one. This new ratio would be applied to a list of “nontraditional occupations” listed in the bill and each newly registered occupation. While it does not attack our existing apprenticeships it could damage them by watering down the state’s standards and harms any future joint labor management apprenticeship programs we hope to establish in the future. The Governor introduced HB 597 (SB 470) Growing Apprenticeships and the Public Safety Workforce (GAPS) Act which would modify the Law Enforcement Cadet Program to become a public safety apprenticeship program. HB 536 proposed creating a Correctional Services Apprenticeship Start-Up Grant Program. Additionally, the State Federation is watching HB 642 Apprenticeships in Licensed Occupations Act of 2024 and SB 566 Education - Transporting Students and Jobs That Require Driving - Authorization and Requirements (Drivers Education for Good Jobs Act of 2024) to avoid any potential negative impacts on existing programs, unions, and workers. The state is also considering implementing apprenticeship preferences in their procurement processes, as proposed by HB 984 - State Procurement - Apprenticeship Preference Program. There is also a proposal to require that state funded public works contracts are required to use a certain percentage of their labor hours through registered apprenticeship programs, as proposed by HB 1276 - Public Works Contracts - Apprenticeship Requirements (Maryland Workforce Apprenticeship Utilization Act).


“Caring Across Maryland & Health Care Workers”

Our healthcare union affiliates spearhead a coalition of patients, workers, and nonprofits that are fighting the broken healthcare system for direct care workers, especially those in nursing homes and personal care aides. We are proud to support their coalition priorities, which includes bills like: SB 371 - Homecare Workers Livable Wage Act of 2024, SB 197 (HB 39) - Residential Service Agencies - Reimbursement - Personal Assistance Services, and SB 328 - Nursing Home Staffing Crisis Funding Act of 2024


“Internet Gambling Poses Threat to Unionized Casino Workers”

With tight budget projections for the next few years, many legislators are looking at expanding online internet gambling (i.e. “I-Gaming) as a potential new tax revenue source. This would hurt existing unionized gambling facilities and the jobs that support that industry. As unions wrote in Maryland Matters, “We are convinced that iGaming is a bad bet for Maryland workers and families. Now is not the time to gamble with thousands of Maryland jobs. We urge the governor and General Assembly to not take the bait and say NO to iGaming.” There are currently a few proposals for I-Gaming, including: the House of Delegates proposal HB 1319 - Internet Gaming - Authorization and Implementation, the Senate I-Gaming Referendum proposal SB 565 - Expansion of Commercial Gaming - Internet Gaming Referendum, and the Senate implementation proposal SB 603 - Internet Gaming - Authorization and Implementation.


“MD Department of Labor Introduces Consumer & Worker Protection Bills”

Worker protections are not just rights on the job. Workers deserve laws that protect them from predatory business practices that threaten to take their hard earned wages. So far this session, we testified in support of the Office of Financial Regulation’s bills (HB 246 & HB 254) to protect workers’ paychecks by regulating Earned Wage Access products (i.e. a new name for payday loans) by applying the state’s existing consumer lending protection laws and banning “rent-a-bank” schemes. We were in touch with MDOL and the Office of Financial Regulator to make sure that workers’ interests were represented in these bills. The State Federation also worked with affiliates seeking amendments to MDOL’s proposed HB 136 (SB 233) - Employment Standards, Prevailing Wage, and Living Wage - Employer Adverse Actions - Prohibition which sought to standardize anti-retaliation measures but failed to add wage payment and collection law or allow for a private right of action. The State Federation also testified in support of raising MD Occupational Safety and Health Act penalties to meet federal levels (HB 244). 


Please contact us if you have any questions or would like support on your bills.