IAM Baltimore County Library Workers Fight to Expand Collective Bargaining Rights for Maryland Workers

Feb 6, 2024 | Politics & Legislative News

IAM Maryland public library workers recently joined a coalition led by the Maryland State and DC AFL-CIO affiliates/labor unions, state legislators, and workers statewide.

The coalition is rallying behind a trio of bills designed to expand collective bargaining rights for workers that could reshape the landscape of collective bargaining in Maryland:

  • HB 609/SB 591(Library Workers Empowerment Act) would allow employees of Maryland’s public libraries to form and join unions and participate in collective bargaining.
  • HB 260/SB 192(State Personnel – Collective Bargaining – Supervisory Employees) would allow over 4,000 supervisors employed by the State to collectively bargain.
  • HB 493/SB #TBD(State Personnel – Collective Bargaining – Faculty, Part-Time Faculty, Postdoctoral Associates, and Graduate Assistants) would grant collective bargaining rights to faculty, part-time faculty, and graduate assistants at institutions within the University System of Maryland, Morgan State University, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Anita Bass, IAM Baltimore County Public Library (BCPL) Local 4538 President and a Library Service Assistant, spoke on why H.B. 609/S.B. 591 (Library Workers Empowerment Act) must pass this legislative session. 

“The Library Workers Empowerment Act is not just about the present; it’s about securing the future for every library worker,” said Bass. “By supporting and voting yes for the Library Workers Empowerment Act, the Maryland General Assembly can ensure that each library worker stands tall, knowing they have the support and protection from a collective bargaining agreement. The Library Workers Empowerment Act will make a difference by paving the way for a stronger, more empowered library community. This bill, in conjunction with other collective bargaining legislation, underscores the solidarity among unions.” 

Lawmakers and union leaders seek to extend labor rights to more librarians, state workers The Baltimore Sun 

Public library workers across Maryland can only exercise their Constitutional right to form a union and collectively bargain if the Maryland General Assembly passes enabling legislation. The Library Workers Empowerment Act would allow employees of Maryland’s public libraries to join unions and participate in collective bargaining.

This bipartisan legislation is being sponsored by Del. Jared Solomon (D) as H.B. 609 and being cross-filed by Sen. Clarence Lam (D) in the Senate as S.B. 591. The next step is to hear the legislation in the House Appropriations hearing.  

The coalition, which includes unions such as AFSCME Maryland Council 3, AFT Maryland, MCGEO (UFCW Local 1994), SEIU Local 500, and UAW, represents a diverse and powerful force advocating for the rights of Maryland workers. 

“The Library Workers Empowerment Act and other collective bargaining bills symbolize a step toward a stronger, more empowered Maryland labor movement and library worker community,” said IAM Eastern Territory General Vice President David Sullivan. “I am proud of Anita for speaking on behalf of our union. The fight for collective bargaining rights is fundamental to creating a fair and just workplace. The IAM Eastern Territory stands with public library workers across Maryland in their pursuit of the Library Workers Empowerment Act.”


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