2020 End of Session Wrap-Up: Employee Benefits and Relations

The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work in the area of employee benefits and employee relations in the 2020 General Assembly.  MACo advocates for fair state laws governing employment practices, labor representation, and employer-employee relationships. MACo becomes particularly engaged when a proposal has a disproportionate or unique effect on public sector employees – frequently those affecting public safety employees or other public workers who engage in sensitive functions. This year, for the…

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Local Seafood Industry Still Seeing Worker Shortages

The Chesapeake Bay area seafood industry is still concerned over worker shortages for the upcoming season that begins April 1. The industry says the current H-2B visa system is damaging their businesses and could lead to closures. As previously reported on Conduit Street, in January, Governor Hogan sent a letter to the Trump Administration requesting more visas in response to labor shortages, estimating that without more visas there could be permanent damage to the $355…

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MACo Opposes Court Collective Bargaining Mandate

MACo Legislative Director Natasha Mehu testified on February 20, 2020 before the Senate Finance and Judicial Proceedings Committee to oppose SB 388 - Circuit Courts and District Court of Maryland Employees – Collective Bargaining. This bill would establish collective bargaining for Circuit Court and District Court clerical, administrative, constabulary, maintenance, and housekeeping staff. From MACo Testimony: The move to collective bargaining outlined in this bill will lead to unknown and potentially significant cost increases to…

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Counties Oppose Expanding Prevailing Wage Application

MACo Executive Director Michael Sanderson testified before the House Economic Matters Committee on February 11, 2020 to oppose HB 582 - Procurement – Prevailing Wage - Applicability.  This bill would extend the application of the State’s prevailing wage law to projects where any amount, even the smallest share, of funds are provided by the State. Prevailing wage rates - which include basic hourly and fringe benefits payments - are set by the Maryland Department of Labor…

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Counties Request Amendments to Impractical Wage Bill

MACo Policy Associate Drew Jabin submitted written testimony to support with amendments HB 123 - Labor and Employment - Wage History and Wage Range. As written, this bill would require employers to exclude a variety of wage and salary history when offering jobs or promotions. If applied to the public sector, counties fear this law could eliminate numerous structured promotion opportunities which allow local government employees a career path forward based on workplace success and…

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Maryland Adds 9,800 Jobs, Unemployment Rate Remains at 3.6%

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) last week released November's state jobs and unemployment data. According to the preliminary survey data, Maryland added 9,800 jobs last month. Maryland's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.6 percent. Unemployment rates in November were lower in seven states, higher in five states, and stable in 38 states and the District of Columbia, according to the data. Seven states had jobless rate decreases from a year…

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Maryland Adds 10,700 Jobs, Unemployment Rate Ticks Down

Maryland added 10,700 jobs in October --  the second-most of any state, according to preliminary survey data released yesterday by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Maryland’s unemployment rate fell to 3.6% -- the lowest unemployment rate in over 11 years, according to the data. According to a press release: “Just over five years ago, our administration pledged to put more people back to work, grow the private sector, and turn…

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Public Unions After Janus v. AFSCME: What’s Happening Around the U.S.?

In June of 2018, the United States Supreme Court ruled that public employees have a constitutional right to quit their union and stop paying dues in the Janus v. AFSCME decision. As National Employee Freedom Week is being celebrated this week, The Hill published an opinion piece on the ramifications of this legislative override and what is happening around the county. What is happening around the United States? New Jersey: The legislature passed the Workplace…

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Governor Hogan Announces New Deputy Chief of Staff
Diane Croghan (photo courtesy of Linkedin)
Governor Hogan Announces New Deputy Chief of Staff

Governor Larry Hogan today announced the appointment of Diane Croghan to serve as deputy chief of staff in the Office of the Governor for labor, housing, education, human services, and health matters. Croghan succeeds Tiffany Robinson, who the governor recently appointed to be Maryland’s next secretary of labor. A veteran of county government, Croghan served as chief of staff to former Anne Arundel County Executive Steven R. Schuh from 2014-2018. According to a press release:…

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U.S. House Approves $15 Minimum Wage

The U.S. House of Representatives today approved a bill to gradually increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. The current federal minimum wage - which has not been raised since 2009 - is $7.25 per hour. The Maryland General Assembly this year passed House Bill 166/Senate Bill 280 (Chs. 10 and 11), legislation to phase in an increase in the State minimum wage to $15.00 per hour by January 1, 2025, with…

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