City Council Proposes Bill to Retain Service Workers Amid Contract Changes

If passed by the City Council and signed by the Mayor, Baltimore City could join the ranks of Montgomery County and other cities across the nation that would require certain incoming contractors to retain existing service workers for a set period of time when contracts are transitioning to new hands.

As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

The bill requires an incoming contractor to retain the existing workforce for at least a 90-day transition period. Backers say it would protect thousands of city workers from losing jobs on short notice or being forced to reapply for their own positions.

Similar laws have been enacted in Montgomery County, California and at least 12 cities, including Philadelphia and New York and Washington.

Councilwoman Shannon Sneed, the bill’s sponsor, said the city’s service workers, including many who live in her East Baltimore district, shouldn’t have to worry about losing a job just because of a change in management. Those who are not retained after the 90-day period at least would have time to look for a new job, she said.

“We’re just saying before you come in and make changes, find out how it works,” said Sneed, who said she has strong support on the council for the bill. “We are pro-business. We ultimately want to keep people employed so these folks won’t be put out with a minute’s notice.”

The bill, which is up for a hearing before the council’s labor committee on Thursday, covers workers in security, janitorial, building maintenance and food service jobs at universities, convention centers, stadiums, residential and commercial buildings, industrial facilities, distribution centers and the casino. During the three-month transition period, workers can be fired only for cause, not just to be replaced.

A spokesman for Mayor Catherine Pugh said Friday that the mayor is withholding judgment on the proposal until after the council acts on the bill.

Read the The Baltimore Sun to learn more.