MACo Associate Director Les Knapp testified in opposition to HB 881 before the House Appropriations Committee on March 9. The bill, sponsored by Delegate Tom Hucker, would authorize non-management library employees to form employee organizations and engage in collective bargaining. The bill also includes mediation and limited binding arbitration provisions.
Mr. Knapp argued that the bill imposed a costly mandate on both counties and local library systems. Representatives from various library systems stated the bill was unnecessary, as librarians can chose to unionize under federal law.
At the hearing, several Delegates stated they were offering amendments to exempt their counties from the bill. As reported by MarylandReporter.com:
Delegates representing six counties have moved to exempt these jurisdictions from a bill that would make it easier for local librarians to unionize, citing concerns about the costs.
Representatives from Harford, Baltimore, Garret, Allegheny and Carroll Counties offered amendments to strike their counties from the bill.
Del. Mary-Dulany James, D-Cecil and Harford, was first to voice her opposition on collective bargaining rights for librarians.
“I’m a big proponent of local rights,” James said. “We don’t like it when the federal government tells the states what to do. I don’t think it’s an appropriate role for the state to be telling the local governments how to conduct themselves.”