Collective bargaining bill dies


The House of Delegates did not pass a bill to allow collective bargaining at community colleges.

For the third year in a row, a proposal that would have allowed AACC employees to engage in collective bargaining—organized negotiations between staff and administration over pay raises, benefits and better working conditions—has failed in the state Legislature.

The House of Delegates neglected to vote on the legislation, which AACC administration opposed, by the March deadline.

The proposed law would have allowed Maryland community colleges to form bargaining units to represent full- and part-time faculty, hourly and salaried employees, and police officers.

AACC President Dawn Lindsay said she doesn’t see a need for collective bargaining on campus. “I have frequently said there is no better place to work than a community college,” she said. “I don’t believe there is a work-related issue we cannot address and resolve when we work together.”

Ken Jarvis, president of The Faculty Organization, which represents faculty in discussions with administrators, agreed, saying professors already work with the administration to negotiate workplace issues.

“We work really closely with our administration on things like … health benefits, insurance, retirement, and just good working conditions and good salary conditions,” Jarvis said.

But some professors said they support collective bargaining on campus.

“We want to make the jobs better,” Richard Otten, an adjunct instructor who teaches American studies and gender and sexuality studies, said. “If we improve our working conditions, we will improve the students’ learning conditions.”

He added: “I think labor should be organized. … People who share self-interests connected with the workplace should work together to improve their circumstances.”

History professor Frank Alduino also said he supports collective bargaining.

“I think that it is something that, at least here, would add to collegiality,” Alduino said. “I think it is a good thing. I think at any collective bargaining arena there is a high morale, there’s a greater input from the faculty.”