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President's Update on COVID-19 Baltimore City Budget Shortfall



On April 9, 2020 the Mayor’s Office assembled a meeting of all the Presidents of the Municipal Unions of Baltimore, along with the Labor Commissioner, Director of Department of Human Resources, and Deputy Budget Director. At that meeting, the Unions were presented with a summary of the City’s budgetary projected shortfalls of $46 million in FY2020 and $103 million in FY2021 “due to the economic impact of COVID-19.” The Unions were then presented with three concessionary options to help the City reduce personnel costs by $11.1 million. 

  • The first option would require all Baltimore city employees to freeze salaries at the FY20 amount and forgo the collectively bargained FY21 raises. This option would require zero layoffs for City employees and have zero impact compared to their FY20 salary.
  • The second option requires City employees to take either 4, 5, or 6 furlough days depending on salary. The proposed number of days for those earning less than $30k would have 0 furlough days, those earning $30k-$59k would receive 4 furlough days, those earning $60k-$89k would receive 5 furlough days and those earning $90k or more would receive 6 furlough days.
  • The third option would have zero pay freezes and zero furlough days. This option however, would include 173 layoffs of full-time employees. Layoffs would include non-essential employees currently on permission leave and specialized public safety functions such as BPD’s mounted, marine, and traffic units as well as BCFD’s logistics and multiple fire companies.

The position of the City Union of Baltimore is that none of these options are acceptable. The first option negates the hard earned and fairly bargained raises that have been previously negotiated. The second and third options take money from our members' pockets and eliminate jobs. If the city reduces its workforce, that would increase the workload of the remaining employees who are already overworked and putting their lives on the line daily. Increasing the work without compensation is no way to treat Baltimore city workers.

The city has asked for suggestions from the unions but they have not provided us with all the necessary justification and information to support their plan at this time. The City Union of Baltimore, AFT, and the AFL-CIO, are working collectively with other municipal unions to monitor this situation.

Know that your union is fighting for you! We will continue to work with the city in good faith while ensuring that our members are treated fairly.

As this matter develops, we will keep you informed with as much information as we have in as timely a manner as possible. 

President Ryan-Johnson

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