ANNAPOLIS, Md., March 2, 2023 – The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) applauds the Maryland House of Delegates today for passing H.B. 65/S.B. 352, an IAM-led bipartisan bill that would give unorganized public library workers a fair, clear and consistent process to utilize their constitutional right to freedom of association by forming a union, if they wish to do so.
Current Maryland state law does not provide all library workers collective bargaining rights. Instead, in the past this has been handled on a county-by-county basis, requiring the state legislature to repeatedly contemplate similar legislation.
A handful of jurisdictions currently allow library workers the right to collective bargaining. Baltimore County Public Library System (BCPL) employees are the most recent group who fought for this right through the Maryland State Legislature. In 2021, they earned the right to collective bargaining, choosing to organize with the IAM. They even gained the attention of President Joe Biden, who invited a BCPL employee bargaining team member to speak before the White House Task Force on Worker Organizing and Empowerment.
“The House passage of H.B. 65 is a huge step toward giving these hard-working public servants the right to a voice in the workplace and a seat at the table for the vitality of the library systems to thrive for the communities that count on them,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez, Jr. “I want to thank House Appropriations Committee Chairman Del. Ben Barnes (D-21) and Oversight Committee on Personnel Chairman Del. Jazz Lewis (D-24) for championing for the passage of this bill. I thank all delegates on both sides of the aisle who voted for the passage of this pro-worker bill. Now it’s up to the Senate to do the same and honor library workers with the collective bargaining rights they want.”
The legislation, introduced by Del. Steve Johnson (D-34A) and cross-filed in the Senate by Majority Leader Sen. Nancy King (D-39), does not guarantee union organizing or require library system employees to form a union. The bill simply enables Maryland library workers to organize for union representation, should they wish to do so.
“To protect and preserve our libraries, all across the state, workers need a seat at the table. A voice in the room. We need to be regarded and respected as experts in our fields, alongside our administrators. The passing of H.B. 65 by the House is an important step to get us there,” said Morgan Michael, a Library Associate II with the Harford County Public Library.
The passed legislation has support of groups such as the Maryland Library Workers United; Baltimore County Public Library-IAM United (BCPL-IAM); Harford County Public Library United (HCPL United); Maryland State & D.C. AFL-CIO; Metro Washington Labor Council, AFL-CIO; Maryland State Education Association (MSEA); and Baltimore County Executive John Olszewski, Jr.
The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers is one of North America’s largest and most diverse industrial trade unions, representing approximately 600,000 active and retired members in the aerospace, defense, airlines, railroad, transit, healthcare, automotive, and other industries.