New faculty unions at Howard Community College and Frederick Community College have been certified and recognized, with full-time faculty recognized as AFT-Maryland members, Maryland Matters reported.
The organizations were formed under a new law that recognizes unions if more than half the members sign authorization cards saying they’d like to join. More than 80% of Howard’s 170 faculty and 100 Frederick faculty submitted cards Aug. 21.
“Higher ed faculty want unions — and the more workers who are organized, the more students see that respect and voice leads to greater opportunity, that’s the way more families have access to the middle class,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten.“ That’s why it is such a hot labor summer.”
The faculties at the two schools are the first Maryland community college faculties to organize since the 2021 passage of a collective bargaining bill. Members said they unionized to address issues such as increasing workloads and inadequate compensation. Unionization at Frederick also comes after allegations of bullying and harassment by former President Elizabeth Burmaster.
“The history of the institution shows that no existing organization, including FCC’s board of trustees and various state and regional accreditation organizations, will protect faculty and other employees from abusive administrators. The solidarity and power we are creating with our union will ensure our protection,” Frederick faculty member Dr. Greg Coldren said in a statement.
Faculty organizing efforts are also in progress at other Maryland schools, including Community College of Baltimore County, Prince George’s Community College, and Anne Arundel Community College.
“Unions do not necessarily have to be adversarial. In the best situations, unions and campus leadership work hand-in-hand because they have shared goals and shared values,” AFT-Maryland spokesperson Ray Baker said.