ACE-AFSCME Local 2250 is recognized as the strongest and most politically active AFSCME Local around the state of Maryland. Local 2250 has a long history and tradition of negotiating and winning positive gains for its members.
Local 2250 has won many substantial benefits that rank its members among the highest paid school employees in their classification in the state of Maryland.
At the suggestion of teacher building rep, Jack McTyre, James Shearer and Harold T. Shaw, both Maintenance employees, met with President Ferd Cardano of the Prince George's County Educators Association and Executive Secretary Fred Rummage of PGCEA at the PGCEA office in Bladensburg to discuss setting up an employee organization for classified employees of the school board. PGCEA agreed to assist in doing so by providing some office space, a telephone and, a staffer, Steve Bittner.
Prince George's County School Maintenance Association (SMA) meets at Marlboro Elementary School and forms an organization to represent maintenance employees who have no contract, no annual leave, and many other disparities as compared to teachers. Soon after, 98% of eligible employees joined. Officers were President Jim Shearer (Electric Shop), Vice President Harold Shaw (Electric Shop), Secretary Thomas Tucker (Warehouse Manager), and Treasurer Charles Dent (Warehouse Driver).
SMA negotiates first contract with the Board of Education gaining a 7% increase and improved leave policy.
500 classified employees attend a meeting at Prince George's Community College to form the Association of Classified Employees (ACE) expanding SMA. Jim Shearer becomes Director of ACE and Harold Shaw is elected ACE President.
Board officially recognizes ACE and grants it informal permission to "meet and confer" about employee concerns.
ACE - now 2,000 strong - negotiates a contract which includes a 12% increase for cafeteria, and an 8% for custodial, a 7% across-the-board for all other classified employees and a raise in base pay for secretaries from $3,445 to $3,686 per year. Also included were benefits like life insurance fully funded by the Board and major improvements in maternity, military, personal and sick leave. Cafeteria, bus drivers/aides, school secretaries, health and teacher aides went from 0 days to 3 days of personal leave.
Maryland Council of School Personnel Organizations (MCOSPO) holds 1st statewide meeting. Ace Director Jim Shearer and ACE President Harold Shaw represent Prince George's County. MCOSPO was formed to provide means of organization for school employees not already covered and a statewide school employee retirement system.
Board Grants classified employees right to choose an exclusive representative. Shirley Lane becomes ACE President.
ACE/AFSCME becomes exclusive representative of employees in cafeteria, central office, maintenance, school office, health aides, hearing/vision technicians, IM aides, library aides, transportation, and teacher aides. ACE/AFSCME gains use of PONY mail and dues check-off.
ACE/AFSCME negotiates an average 12% wage increase for all its members, and increase in the Board's share of health premiums from 50 to 60%, and increase from 1-1/2 to 2 times annual salary in free life insurance, and extra day of sick leave and payment after retirement of some unused sick leave, and mileage reimbursements for use of employee's car.
Board votes to pay retroactive pay increase agreed to in July 1971, but frozen by the school superintendent because of President Nixon's wage/price freeze. ACE/AFSCME had filed a lawsuit in the name of a cafeteria employee to force the superintendent to uphold the negotiated salary increase.
ACE/AFSCME leads the fight for Maryland's first Classified Employees' collective bargaining law.
ACE/AFSCME agrees to delay work action plan after Board and County Executive assure union they would try to come up with additional monies to give classified employees a 3% raise that other County employees received. Strong support from membership caused the Board and County to reconsider availability of funds.
Local 2250's first negotiated contract goes into effect. Union was recognized as sole bargaining agent for all classified employees except the custodial department which chose the International Brotherhood of Firemen and Oilers, Local 400, in a representation election. Local 2250 has the distinction of being the first non-teaching school employee organization to achieve collective bargaining rights in the state of Maryland.
Local 2250 negotiates a 7-step salary scale for all transportation employees (previously 3-step for aides, 6-step for drivers, 5-step for driver trainers) meaning an additional 5%increase for those at top scale in addition to an overall 5.1% increase for all employees. Field trips compensated at a 3-hour minimum and all employees received an additional 2 days sick leave. Sick leave could now be used for disability related to pregnancy and the Board increases its share of health premiums to 70%. Binding arbitration was added to the grievance procedure and bus drivers/aides start a seniority policy.
After passage of state law, union pressures Board to negotiate the state's first agency shop for public school employees. (Agency shop means that employees covered by the contract but not union members must pay a representation fee to the union which then represents all employees.)
Union wins grievance for bus drivers/aides who had not received overtime pay of time and a half for over 40 hours of work. All drivers/aides worked in excess of 40 hours got retroactive pay from September 1974 through January 6, 1975 and any future overtime would be paid in appropriate pay.
Union got the Board to agree to eliminate the Open Lunch program at County high schools. 2250 cited the loss of jobs and hours for cafeteria employees.
School bus drivers/aides object through union representatives to a Board plan to pay strictly by the hour violating the contract which provided for 22 prorated equal pay checks. Possible results of new pay plan would be no checks over Christmas holidays and a possible reduction in overall annual salary. The drivers/aides won the dispute and in addition got the Board to correct the current seniority lists by having each driver/aide confirm his or her seniority date along with the foremen and union rep. Also, drivers/aides would choose routes and hours and be assigned buses by seniority. The Board also agreed to ask principals to back up the drivers on discipline.
Local 2250 negotiates for an optical/prescription plan and a guaranteed number of work days for 10-month employees as well as salary and other improvements.
Local 2250 wins a class action suit filed on September 21, 1976 on behalf of 203 members whose Special Unemployment Assistant (SUA) claims had been denied because they had used the telephone to actively seek employment. Each member then became eligible retroactively to receive unemployment benefits from the summer of 1976. (By law, we are no longer eligible for SUA benefits.)
ACE-AFSCME asks for PEOPLE check-off from Board so that members can contribute money to support candidates who support public employees. Approved for the 1978-1979 school year.
Union participates in setting up accident review committee. Old way consisted of one supervisor reviewing all accidents and making decision. Review board consists of supervisor, driver trainer, driver, union rep and a chairperson, a safety officer, and State guidelines are followed to determine preventability.
Central Garage Reps begin monthly meetings with management to work out problems.
Local 2250 instrumental in influencing Board's decision not to contract out trash collection.
Superintendent Feeney accepts petition of 100 bus drivers/aides to donate one day each of sick leave to help out Greenbelt driver, "Buddy" Thomas, who suffered a stroke on the bus. (Forerunner to sick leave bank)
Union files field trip grievance because management was paying field trip rate for athletic trips. Union wins.
Hundreds of 2250 members travel to State legislature in Annapolis to visit the Prince George's County delegation to oppose pension bill that would significantly reduce benefits. Bill defeated by House of Delegates. Hundreds of letters were also sent.
Membership approves sick leave bank and dental plan replacing old income protection plan.
Over 2,000 join the sick leave bank.
Union files and wins grievance on behalf of a sick bank member because Board, contrary to agreement with union, says employees would be in a leave of absence status when they use the bank rather than on sick leave thereby having to pay the Board's share of health premiums while out.
Employee Assistance Program (EAP) set up to deal with employee problems confidentially.Reprinted from May 1979 ACE-AFSCME Reporter
County Executive Hogan proposes elimination 120 health aides saying secretaries could do the job. 200 health aides meet to discuss action.
Public Employees Coalition calls for work-to-rule action which is endorsed by Local 2250 due to Hogan's call for 3% increase for County employees despite negotiated agreement for a higher increase. 1,000 County employees march on County Administration Building to protest Hogan's budget and potential loss of jobs for health aides, secretaries and printers.
Cafeteria employees hold special meeting to discuss how to fight Reagan budget cuts to school lunch programs.
Many Local 2250 member march with thousands of AFSCME members from around the country at massive Solidarity Day march in Washington, DC.
Union files grievance on behalf of bus drivers after School Superintendent Feeney forbids principals from hiring bus drivers for field trips if they drive more than 8 hours. The new regulations would have allowed outside contractors to fill in if the principal could not find a driver. Federal regulations allow drivers to operate a passenger vehicle for 10hours/day of actual driving time and an additional 5 hours/day on duty but not driving equaling 70 hours in 8 days. The union won the grievance.
Membership agrees to delay scheduled July 1, 1982 pay increase until April 1983 to save 300 members' jobs. County Executive Glendening then agrees in April 1983 to pay increase retroactively to January 1, 1983
Local 2250 wins back hours that had been cut for Chapter 1 aides.
Local 2250 along with other employee organizations files class action suit to challenge constitutionality of proposed new retirement system.
New pay grade (Grade 05, Salary Table 100) contained in negotiated agreement for instructional aides with 60 hours college credit.
Board attempted to reduce cafeteria hours. A modified agreement was reached which resulted in a very limited staffing change.
School Board votes 6-3 to support union over School Superintendent that under our negotiated agreement we had the right to binding arbitration for disciplinary matters. Arbitrator in a termination case also decided in our favor and as a result, a fired employee was reinstated with full back pay.
Over 300 school secretaries meet over inadequate staffing, taking work home and having to come in early. Union successful in getting an additional $400,000 to fund health aides and school secretaries. Secretaries also met with Superintendent of Schools and School Board and attended County Council meetings.
Union initiates legislation which would reduce an employee's taxable income by the amount of the employee's pension contribution. In 1986, union persuaded state legislature to submit such an employee "pick-up" plan to IRS.
No loss of staff and a restoration of lost hours was the result of union negotiations with Food Service Administration at Langley-McCormick Elementary
School secretaries continue to fight by meeting with all nine School Board members separately and attending County Council meetings to raise issues mentioned above.
Union Privilege Benefit Program offered to all members at no cost which includes a low cost Master Card, access to reduced fee legal services, reduced fee travel service program, and life insurance
AFSCME Local 2 735 and 2462 representing Prince George's County Department of Public Works thank 2250 for voluntarily withdrawing from County snow removal training programs causing County to cancel them. Continued participation of our members in the program would have cost 2735 and 2462 overtime pay and their members were expected to train our members.
Due to efforts of Local 2250 and PGCEA in holding meetings with Representative "Buzz" Ryan, HB206 was killed in Annapolis. It would have limited the County's ability to give pay raises to County employees and would have penalized the County if it used state funds to do so.
AFSCME sponsored bill with significant 2250 support passes legislature giving bus drivers an extension up to six months to pass new CDL test
New contract includes wage increases, optional 26-pay period for 10-month employees, stipend increase for satellite lunch program employees, increase in tool allotment for Central Garage, maintenance employees will now receive a tool allowance, one additional longevity step for each salary schedule and an increase in field trip rate. And most importantly, NO CONTRACTING OUT for life of 4-year contract.
Contract extended for 3 years with 4% wage increase over life of contract, continued use of PONY mail (which Board had tried to take away) and NO CONTRACTING OUT for life of contract.
Executive Board member for school secretaries - Calverton Elementary and member of the first negotiating team, 1994
"The phrase, 'You've come a long way baby,' applies to Local 2250. When I started work in the late 1960s, secretaries made $500 per year part-time and $2,000 per year full time with no benefits. No classified employee could join the retirement system. And, there was no one to turn to with problems except the principal."
Local 2250 President and Executive Director, respectively, and members of the first negotiating team. Mike is still an employee of the Maintenance Department but in 1994 on leave to serve as the Local's President,1994
"Maintenance workers had to work 48 hours per week straight time with no overtime and no travel time back to the main shop." said Mooney. "As for sick leave, " according to Shearer, "workers earned 10 days and if they had any sick leave left over it was considered annual leave. Workers also had to pay 100% of the health care premiums unlike the teachers who didn't have to pay that much."
Executive Board member, Central Office, 1994
"Before the union, management could move workers anywhere they wanted, shifting us from office to office with no regard for input from the workers, Also, a supervisor would clock the workers when they used the bathroom, and if they took too long, would even follow us into the bathroom."
Former Executive Board member, retired Cafeteria worker
"Without the union, we wouldn't be where we are today. Our jobs are secure, and the union wins tremendous pay increases for us." Cavanaugh recalls that years ago a former department head tried to intimidate her for signing up union members. "This manager told me that if I continued to sign members up I would not be promoted to food manager, and that I would not be allowed to attend a union convention to which I had been elected a delegate by the members. All it took way one phone call from the union."
Former Shop Steward for 16 years, bus driver, Surrattsville Lot, 1994
"Back in 1970, when I began driving a bus, another steward asked me to come to union meetings and get involved. I was just a little old housewife and at first, I was afraid to go. But then I realized what power the union had when with their help, we got a pay phone installed since management wouldn't let the drivers use the office phones even for job related calls and also a bus shed and bathroom facilities."
Harold Shaw for his photography skills, knowledge, and overall coordination.
Terry Houston for her word processing of all the material and her general assistance and support.
Susan Lesser for her idea to do this page and for doing the research, writing, and interviewing for the history of AFSCME Local 2250.