The House passed the Fair Share bill with amendments and the Senate was considering the bill late on the last day of the 2009 legislative session.
Under the bill, nonunion state employees would have to pay dues to and be represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Employees who belong to another union, such as the Maryland Classified Employees Association (MCEA), also would be forced to join AFSCME.
"They didn't ask for this, and we're not going to force it down their throats," Shank said.
He offered several amendments to the bill Monday, including one that would have applied the bill only to state employees hired after July 1, 2009. Shank's amendments failed.
Shank said there are 32,000 state employees covered under collective bargaining. About 12,000 of those pay dues to AFSCME. About 8,300 belong to other unions and 12,200 belong to no union.
All state employees benefit from the contracts negotiated by AFSCME, according to the organization's director, Patrick Moran.
"We supported Fair Share because we think it's going to give state employees the opportunity to have more power at the bargaining table," he said.
Right now, Moran said employees are benefiting from the union without paying dues.
"They get all the benefits that the union negotiates, that the union members pay for and they don't contribute anything to that," he said.
Shank has said if all state employees joined AFSCME, the union would receive an additional $7.5 million annually. Each employee would give up about $400 annually in dues deducted from their paychecks, he said.
However, Moran said Monday that those figures are not accurate.
"Delegate Shank is just wrong," he said. "Delegate Shank refused to look at the facts and doesn't know collective bargaining as well as he knows his rhetoric."
In response to Moran's comments, Shank said his numbers were correct.
"It's not rhetoric," Shank said. "It's mathematics."
He urged lawmakers to carefully consider any decision that would authorize money to be taken from the paychecks of state employees.
"This boils down to an unwarranted raid on the wallets and pocketbooks of state employees to benefit a politically well-connected union at a time when state employees are hurting ," Shank said. "And AFSCME should really be ashamed of themselves for advocating for something this negative when they ought to be advocating for the best interests of state employees."
How Washington County delegation members voted on the Fair Share bill Monday:
- Del. John P. Donoghue --Â Yes
- Del. Christopher B. Shank --Â No
- Del. Richard B. Weldon Jr. -- No
- Del. LeRoy E. Myers --Â Absent
- Del. Andrew A. Serafini --Â Absent