Collective bargaining wrong for Marylanders, state workers

February 03, 2011

As a retired state employee, I read the joke of a new contract our governor made with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the on- paper-only representative for state workers, for the next three years ( "State workers approve contract, possible raise," Feb. 3). My first laugh was the phrase "state workers approve…" in the title, since the fewer than 6,000 of 43,000 AFSCME members who chose to vote for their bargaining representatives were considered as speaking for all state employees.

For Marylanders trying to budget their living expenses within their means, we all should laugh, then shake our heads in disbelief, at the oxymoron statement that employees will be paid for the five days when the government shuts down to save money. Whoa? Explain how that saves money.

As continued payback for AFSCME's support in the voting booth, Governor O'Malley allowing them to collect dues from all employees, including non-members, in addition to increasing fees for prescription drugs. Yes, collective bargaining has been a great idea. We should remember that it was an executive order by Democratic Gov. Parris Glendenning that initiated this travesty of so-called representation of employees. By any measure of success, a voter turnout of less than 14 percent of membership indicates not only employee nonacceptance of union representation but also that collective bargaining only benefits AFSCME leadership and never the citizens of Maryland.

The only cost saving feature was the $750 bonus to be paid for employees since it will not impact future pension liabilities. My guess that this bonus is intended to offset prescription increases and the union fee cost to employees.

Charles Herr, Baltimore

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