More Study Needed on Community College Collective Bargaining

A bill to require community colleges to allow collective bargaining among their professors and staff has advanced in the General Assembly, passing the House of Delegates.

The Senate Finance Committee will hear the House version of the bill on March 29.

HB 27 – Education – Community Colleges – Collective Bargaining was amended by the House to include some clarifying language. At the same time, there are still several areas that require further study.

These study-areas include:

  • The legal effect of the law on institutions which already have some collective bargaining.
  • The fiscal effect of the projected expansion, a revenue source for implementation of collective bargaining, and the local government role.
  • Technical issues including the appropriate number of bargaining units, the appropriate length of contracts, and permissible areas for negotiation.

MACo opposed the legislation as drafted. The legislation preempts local decision-making and could pressure county budgets that necessarily provide one third of the funding for community colleges throughout Maryland.

MACo’s written testimony states:

The combination of a State-imposed system and costs, no county participation in bargaining, and no additional State funding results in a potentially substantial unfunded mandate on county governments.

In light of concerns with the legislation and the multiple areas requiring further inquiry, MACo opposes passage of the bill and advocates for additional study of the topic before legislation is adopted.