University Staff Unhappy with Loh, Management as Contract Negotiations Begin

By Jarod Golub

The fifth contract negotiation between University of Maryland workers and management began at 9:30 a.m. Oct. 5.

There are approximately 3,500 state employees who work for the University of Maryland being represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) while management is being represented by a lawyer.

According to union secretary and University Landscape Technician Craig Newman, none of the union’s proposals had been accepted as of publication.

“While they haven’t agreed with anything yet, they’ve only denied about six of our proposals as written,” Newman said. “So we’ll have a chance to go back and fix those.”

Contract negotiations occur every three years, but this time bargaining comes less than a month after the University System of Maryland Board of Regents approved a $75,000 pay bump for UMD President Wallace Loh.

“Everybody is very disgusted because [Loh] is recognized as the University, but he has not acknowledged the fact that it’s other people who are working that make the University run,” AFSCME 1072 President Dawn Jackson said.

Jackson also works at the University as the Vice President of Central Animal Research.

“I work with animals so I’m here 365 days if I have to be,” Jackson said. “A lot of our facilities people have to come in when it snows so [Loh] can get into his building or so he can walk in his driveway and stuff. People are pretty upset because he’s getting acknowledged and we are not.”

According to Newman, there are about 250 University employees covered by the union who only take home $400 on their bi-weekly paychecks.

“Loh’s raise could pay for three housekeepers for a year, plain and simple,” Newman said. “ And he has the nerve to accept that money.”

While student employees are not included in collective bargaining, contract negotiations still impact undergraduate and graduate students here at the University of Maryland.

“I no longer work for the University, but when I did I worked under Dining Services and I was paid below the Prince George’s County Minimum wage, as is the case for the majority of hourly student employees on campus,” senior economics major Chris Bangert-Drowns said. “We live in Prince George’s County… but the University neglects to pay students at the rate that the county has determined to be the bare minimum for one of its residents, which is unfair.”

“Some of what we’re bargaining for doesn’t just affect us, but indirectly affects students’ experiences here too,” Information Technology Systems Analyst Akilah Jackson said. “If management isn’t being held accountable, then how can students expect to have a quality experience on campus? Because we are ultimately here to support you, regardless of what our role is.”

Management did not return a phone call in time for publication.

Negotiations will continue throughout the semester until an agreement is reached.

 

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