Posted by: Ann Corcoran | March 3, 2011

AFSCME received O’Malley “payback” so why is that not enough?

Let me ask you, how many readers had a clue, before Wisconsin exploded on our national consciousness, that in many states, including Maryland, public employee unions got so many goodies from the taxpayer, then turned some of that largesse (your money) into campaign cash to hire the politicians who would negotiate with them and ultimately turn around and give them more stuff.

We owe Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker a debt of gratitude for waking us up so that we might better understand the avarice and power of public sector union bosses (and incidentally understand how Obama got elected).

I’ve been pulling together documents for days in hopes of synthesizing some of this for you, but I admit my head is spinning trying to decide where to start.   So, I’m going to focus on one outrage just now and then give you links so that you can continue your own research (and find your own outrage!).

As we have told you in previous posts here and here, AFSCME (American Federation for State, County and Municipal Employees) and other unions and hard Left groups are planning a massive rally (they say it will be the largest in many years) to “storm” Annapolis on March 14th.  AFSCME calls it the “Enough is Enough” rally, but I’m thinking that should be our motto—the taxpayers’ motto!  How dare THEY say ‘enough is enough!’

O’Malley gave them what they wanted last month!

On February 4th, AFSCME crowed on its website that through collective bargaining the O’Malley Administration gave them what they wanted in a four year contract.  In a  one page flyer to members, AFSCME said “Even in tough budget times we won increased pay, stopped future furloughs and won new rights.”


By an overwhelming margin of more than 89 percent, employees voting in six bargaining units which represent over 20,000 workers ratified a new 4-year contract.   [This is deceptive, only about 6000 voted and of those that did voted 89 % were in favor.  I’m told that most of those receiving voting information dislike the union so much they trashed their ballots—ed]

No more furloughs? Oh, there could be furloughs but they will be paid!  So what will that do? It won’t help the budget, it will just make Marylanders who need those services on those days angry.

The new agreement protects Maryland’s public service workers from furloughs through the life of the contract (2011-2014). As a result, salaries will go back up to pre-furlough levels and every state worker will receive a $750 bonus, starting July 1, 2011.

And, notice that little $750 bonus each worker will receive. Oh goody, right?  Wrong!  That money will be taxed and then most of what is left of it will go to AFSCME directly out of every state workers pay check.  It’s called an assessment (or a “fair share”), or just plain old “kickback.”  AFSCME will end up with what amounts to a slush fund that could add up to as much as $20 million (taxpayer) dollars!

The agreement also provides for a 2 percent salary increase, effective January 1, 2013, and a 3 percent raise, effective January 1, 2014, as long as the state hits projected revenue levels. In addition, workers will receive a one salary-grade step increase as of April 1, 2014.

While Maryland will continue to close certain state facilities on five predetermined days to save money in 2012-2014, state workers will still be paid for those closed days. Furthermore, employees at those facilities will also receive five days of administrative leave that can be used any time prior to the employee’s separation from state service.

The contract also includes a fair share provision that all workers who are covered under the agreement pay for representation. More than half the workers who voted are not currently members. They endorsed the agreement and the idea that everyone should provide their fair share of resources to strengthen the union.

Here is what one commenter said in response to an article in the Maryland Reporter on January 28th:

From Hsmith7250:

Come July when State workers discover that a portion of their pay has been taken to give to the unions, they will genuinly be shocked. Marylanders will be in a uproar because state employees are getting a $750 bonus and will not care that after taxes, the bulk of that $750 will go to pay the union fees. Secretary of State McDonough said that the provision requiring union fees went into the contract with little contention…uhh who at the negotiating table was supposed to disagree, the union that stands to benefit from this confiscation or the Democrat run Sate of maryland that is too eager to reward their staunch union allies. Oh well – I must sign off and find some other wilderness to cry in.

There are tens of thousands of Maryland state employees who will be assessed union dues (they don’t call them dues, but that is what they are) in some yet-to-be-determined amount from their paychecks beginning on July 1.  State workers will not be signing anything to allow the withdrawal.  The state will simply pass through your money to AFSCME.  AFSCME will in turn use the millions of dollars, much of it from people who do not agree with their politics, to elect the likes of Governor O’Malley and other liberals, who will, as surely as the sun rises in the morning, continue to reward state employees with goodies we can no longer afford.

However, inevitably, Maryland will have its Wisconsin moment.  It is just a matter of time.

AFSCME and Progressive Maryland will be out on March 14th in force as a warning shot—don’t you dare come for our collective bargaining!  We need to re-elect Obama and we need (your) money to do it.

Here are lots of links for more information on unions and pensions for your reading pleasure:

AFSCME’s most recent Form 990 is here.

Richard Falknor at Blue Ridge Forum has two good posts here and here (on unions and pensions).

Heritage Foundation, Government Unions 101 is here.

Maryland Reporter, O’Malley “payback” article is here.

Maryland Union facts (a little outdated but still useful) here.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, state union member numbers, here.

Senator Allan Kittleman has a Right to Work bill here (for private unions) but it has AFSCME foaming at the mouth. Hearing was today.  I wonder how that went.

Delegate Warren Miller (and eight others) has a Right to Work bill here (for both private and public sector unions).  Hearing scheduled next week.


  1. […] This next week as the Gay Marriage bill in Maryland moves to the floor of the House of Delegates those demonstrating for it will be the same people we will see the following week when the Unions demonstrate on March 14th. […]

  2. […] rally in Annapolis next Monday evening, March 14th.  You can see my previous posts here, here and here.   Thanks to Heather who alerted me to the Maryland State Teachers Association call to action, […]

  3. […] Here is what AFSCME crowed in a recent letter to government employees (see “payback” post here): […]

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