Collective Bargaining Rights Being Destroyed in Maryland Sparks Protest

Many people would argue that Democratic states such as Maryland would never be a battle ground for defending Collective Bargaining rights for states like Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana, and Iowa. That myth is far from true, it's the total opposite. Collective Bargaining Rights are being challenged in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, and Montgomery County. The aforementioned places are municipalities throughout Maryland where union members are holding protest and fighting for their right to collectively bargain.

Collective Bargaining is the heart of the relationship between the employer and employee. It is considered the legal binding contract between the employer and employee. While many city, state, and federal officials continue efforts to void or violate the collective bargaining agreement which weakens the power of the employees, we have to consider their agenda. Just think we have contracts for the most important parts of our lives such as our mortgage, car payment, life insurance, and etc. Even the people that are trying to ruin collective bargaining have contracts with the position that they hold that dictates their wages, healthcare, and pensions. These people I am referring to are our legislators; they all have a contract with the people that they represent. So why won't they figure out ways to give up or violate their contract before they begin to violate or void the contract with the working men and women in America.

In Anne Arundel County, the County Council voted unanimously to remove a third party arbitrator from binding arbitration and place themselves to be allowed to have the final say. This was determined in the early part of March, with a seven member council which is composed of four republicans and three democrats. This measure was taken although eighty percent of the voters in 2002 voted for a referendum to allow firefighters and police officers to have binding arbitration.

In Baltimore City, the firefighters and police officers have filed a 57 page federal lawsuit against the City of Baltimore. The City of Baltimore has been accused of purposely underfunding the pension system and violating the contractual agreement in the CBA (Collective Bargaining Agreement). The federal lawsuit was filed because of the vote in June 2010 by the Baltimore City Council to change the amount of years that firefighters and police officers must work before retiring, the benefits are changing, and the firefighters and police officers will be obligated to contribute more out of their paycheck to their retirement.

In Montgomery County, County Executive Isiah Leggett has decided to ignore the decision rendered by the third party arbitrator of not changing pension and health care contributions. This clearly violates collective bargaining rights between employer and employee. He still proposes pension cuts and a sizeable cut in county health care contributions.

All of these employees are on the front line. They are all hoping to have their voice lifted because they understand that if their collective bargaining rights are violated today, it is only the beginning. The beginning stages of crippling our middleclass and supporting the attacks on American Workers. These clear violations of collective bargaining rights will only stagnate the economy and destroy the future for young workers. Remember Wisconsin is where the door opened and now it is happening in Democratic states such as Maryland making it imperative for American workers to stand in solidarity. It is imperative that we have strong legislators to speak out on attacks against the middleclass. It is incumbent upon us to protect the future of young workers in America by protecting the standards and quality of life that we are enduring, instead of being passive., Fri Apr 1 2011

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