Greetings, MCEA! First, let’s all express our warmest congratulations to those newly elected MCEA officers, from the statewide level to the council level, who have accepted the challenge of union leadership. This includes our new Supervisors Council—Supervisors United for Collective Bargaining. I am moved by all the new faces in leadership. That’s a sign of growth and progress for MCEA.
Additionally, I want to make our membership aware of the upcoming Professional Issues Conference, held by AFT Nurses and Health Professionals and AFT Public Employees. We have a rare opportunity in that it will be held here in Baltimore on November 16-18, 2023.
These conferences are far more than a series of talking heads—they are skill-building workshops, enabling our members to learn more about such topics as recruitment and retention, artificial intelligence, and how to fight back against union attacks.
We are hoping to send a representative delegation of MCEA members, with at least two members from each council and each sector of work. If you are interested, please email our Executive Director, Wanda Bailey, at firstname.lastname@example.org. More information here.
On another topic, I want to remind our council leaders that our Constitution and Bylaws provide you with a way to apply for funds for your council. These funds can be used for organizing, member appreciation functions, council events, among many other ways to strengthen your council. The deadline to apply for funds has been extended to October 12, 2023. The grant application is available by visiting our website and accessing “Key Documents” under our Membership tab.
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to our office with any questions or concerns. And please read on! There are important announcements and information regarding your union. Onward and upward!
Our Constitution and Bylaws allow us to hold two Representative Assemblies per year—one in the spring, one in the fall. For those who have been with MCEA for a while, the Representative Assemblies replace our Statewide meetings and Conventions. While Council Delegates, who will carry the votes allotted to their councils, have already been elected, the Representative Assembly is still open to observers—all are encouraged to log in and check it out! We look forward to a productive Assembly. See you then.
Reminder: MCEA Membership Drive
Reminder—our membership drive comes to an end on September 30, 2023!
Union membership makes people power, and people power is what makes big changes in your workplace. Stronger unions don’t just happen without recruitment and organizing.
You know why you joined your union. You know why membership and activism are important. Your coworkers need to know, too.
Starting July 1 and ending September 30, you can earn rewards for signing up new members:
1 new member – MCEA keychain
5 members – MCEA T-shirt
10 members – $50 gift card
15 members – $100 gift card
By the end of the Membership Drive on September 30, the member who recruits the most members (minimum of 10!) will win a weekend getaway. If there are multiple winners, their names will be entered into a drawing. Winners will be announced during the October 14, 2023 Representative Assembly meeting.
Not only are you building power, but you get a chance to win cool prizes. If you’d like talking points on how to speak to potential members, give your MCEA Labor Relations Specialist, Andrew Mayton, a call at 443-286-0520.
AFT’s “Summer” program is an online resource that harnesses the expertise of public policy experts to optimizeborrower options, and it uses technology to make the process easy and secure. Your MCEA membership allows you FREE access to this valuable resource.
Salisbury University - MCEA Council 72
We have exchanged proposals and counterproposals, and MCEA members at Salisbury University have stepped up to give their feedback and suggestions on further proposals. Although the MCEA bargaining team has broken through the adjustment period with the new university president and negotiations are starting to flow, members are standing by in case we need to increase pressure on the administration.
MTA Sergeants - MCEA Council 7122
Our bargaining team has presented the entirety of our contract proposals, but management continues to make itslow going. We are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel, as both sides are eager to finish negotiations and start working under the new MOU. We plan on
pushing through, and finishing soon with a comprehensive collective bargaining agreement.
The bargaining teams may need your support to put pressure on management.
Email email@example.com if we can count on your solidarity!
Retirees Council Updates
There are a number of updates regarding the Fitch vs. State of Maryland lawsuit that will have major effects on retirees’ prescription plans. The following are available in full on the Retirees section of our website.
FITCH V. STATE OF MARYLAND
Included on our websites are filings between the plaintiffs and defendants in the Fitch v. State of Maryland case. The short version is this: the struggle continues. The plaintiffs, on the side of the retirees, have made cogent, logical arguments about the nature of the retirees’ prescription plan, while the State denies its responsibilities every step of the way.
WSJ News Exclusive: GENERIC DRUGS SHOULD BE CHEAP, BUT INSURERS ARE CHARGING THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS FOR THEM
In a Wall Street Journal News Exclusive, journalist Joseph Walker writes:
“Once the patent on an expensive medicine runs out, lower-priced copies go on sale, promising significant savings. But certain generic drugs—for cancer, multiple sclerosis and other complicated diseases—are still costing thousands of dollars monthly[….]"
“The reason, health researchers and industry officials say, is the very companies that are supposed to keep a lid on drug spending can maximize their profits by marking up the prices. Other companies in the drug-supply chain won’t stop them, because consolidation has swept many of the businesses under the same parent.”
Reminder: FREE Accidental Death & Dismemberment Insurance through AFT
Information brought to us from the Department of Budget and Management.
Information and Reminders for You:
One more time (for old time sake): OE elections/changes will be made via paper enrollment form!
The Open Enrollment flyer is attached below for distribution to your employees. You may email OR post in-office; intranet if you have it!
Domestic Partner Eligibility beginning Plan Year 2024. Affidavit of Domestic Partnership and Dependent Documentation Requirements, both attached, have important information.
Contact employees requesting they review and update personal information including home and email addresses for efficient delivery of communications, summary statements, ID cards, etc. Remember to include instructions on how changes should be made.
Finalize your communication strategy for employees you cannot reach using email.
Reminders for Your Employees:
NOW is the time to gather documents if you will be adding new dependents during Open Enrollment. Dependent Documentation Requirements attached. https://www.vitalchek.com/ for purchase of marriage certificates and/or birth certificates.
Dependent supporting documentation must be submitted to your HR Department or HR Representative along with your completed 2024 Satellite Enrollment and Change Form for a new dependent to be added effective January 1, 2024.
Double check your home address and email address with HR. Update this contact information prior to October 10th.