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Union representing correctional officers endorses Munson

August 18, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ
  • Sen. Donald F. Munson
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A union representing nearly 500 correctional officers in Washington County said Wednesday it is endorsing Sen. Donald F. Munson over Del. Christopher B. Shank.

Munson is running for a sixth state Senate term. Shank, a three-term delegate, is challenging him in a Sept. 14 Republican primary.

"Correctional officers perform a dangerous and necessary job for Maryland taxpayers and Senator Munson respects the important work we do and works with us," Rick Thomas, the president of Local 1772 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said in a news release.

Shank said Wednesday he respects rank-and-file correctional officers in AFSCME, but accused the union of spending money to support liberal Democrats.

"If Senator Munson wants that endorsement, he can have it," Shank said.

Munson said the union affects many people in Washington County.

"I've never in my time in the legislature ignored any constituency that represented people of my district," he said.

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The union praised Munson for his help in passing a Correctional Officers' Bill of Rights during the last legislative session.

The measure establishes rights and procedures for investigating and disciplining officers. It also sets up a hearing board of correctional professionals.

Shank sponsored a similar bill during the 2009 legislative session, but it didn't make it out of committee.

This year, Shank tried to amend the Bill of Rights so correctional officers weren't forced to be represented by AFSCME. His amendment, which failed, would have allowed "any responsible representative."

Thomas said Munson's bill was more focused on correctional officers.

"I've worked with Shank very successfully in the past," Thomas said. "It's not a matter of us not liking Shank."

Shank said he clashed with AFSCME over a "Fair Share" bill that passed requiring many state workers to pay dues to and be represented by the union. Shank opposed it.

Munson said he also voted against the bill.

Thomas said he couldn't speak on behalf of AFSCME on that issue and it wasn't relevant to the endorsement.

Besides AFSCME, correctional officers also can belong to the Maryland Classified Employees Association or the Teamsters.

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