Thousands Of Union Employees Rally To Keep Pensions

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Police shut down streets in Annapolis Monday night as thousands took part in a massive demonstration.  Union members marched to Lawyers’ Mall and when they got there, they were greeted by other protesters wearing pig noses.

Kelly McPherson explains what both sides are fighting for.

Thousands of union state employees took over Annapolis, marching to let legislators know they do not want their benefits—specifically their pensions—to change in this year’s state budget.

“We must also fix and save our state’s pension system,” said Governor Martin O’Malley.

But state workers say they’ve sacrificed enough.

“And the commitment to us was that we would have a living wage, that we would have reasonable health benefits and that we would have support after 30 years of hard work,” said Tami Metz, Social Services worker.

Workers came in on more than 75 buses, but they weren’t enough.

There were actually two rallies: the union side and the folks who are upset about what the public employees are asking for.

“As taxpayers, that’s not OK for us to watch: a bullying entity threatening legislators into not being wise about legislating,” said Cindy Sharretts from Harford County.

“I sympathize with them.  I’m a worker, too, but nobody is paying my pension.  We’ve all got to contribute to our own retirement,” said Lynn Beiber from Bowie.

Many mentioned Wisconsin, where the governor stripped that state’s union of collective bargaining.  Here, it’s about funding the pension.  The AFL-CIO president says corporations should pay more taxes and put people back to work to cover it.

“We have the deficits, not because of the pension or health care—we have these deficits because of the massive number of people who have been laid off,” said Richard Trumka.

The governor says that the unions have and will continue to have a seat at the discussion table during budget debates.

The state legislature has until April 11 to finalize the state budget.

  • marian

    and after 7/1/2011 the union will go from 23,000 to every employee (except supervisiors) in maryland who will be FORCED to join. gee ain’t unions grand!!

    • MarylandTeacher

      I should rely on politician to protect my retirement?
      The corridor funding method was created by the General Assembly in 2002. The method allowed the state to contribute less to the System than its actuaries recommended, thereby creating an unfunded liability and increasing future costs. The effect of this underfunding soon began to balloon out of control.

  • ben

    Maybe if they went to work instead of protesting, their benefits etc wouldn’t be cut.

    • MD Teacher

      We are protesting after work. Not only did I work until my day was over but I stayed for FREE with a student to tutor her for 2 hours. Most teachers do this on a daily basis and work more hours than a 12 month, 40 hours a week employee. Maybe YOU should go to work, work overtime without pay every single day, care about a cause, and get informed…or keep your mouth shut.

      • dan

        You go MD Teacher!!!!

      • Another MD Teacher

        I absolutely agree. I see teachers staying overtime without compensation all the time. Heck, I’m checking work emails right now to catch up. Thanks for posting first.

      • Kurt

        Then why be in a union? If you are going to work without pay and not get reimbursed for it, well that sounds idiotic to me. Personally, I don’t want to pay your pension. I don’t get a pension. I pay into my own retirement plan. What makes you think that you are so special that you are entitiled to my hard earned money? So the state should raise taxes on me and my property to pay for your retirement pension? Why don’t you all take some personal responsiblity and funnel your union fees into your own retirement plan? I shouldn’t have to pay for your retirement. I have my own family to worry about.

      • ben

        Actually, as a “professional” I work about 60 hours a week with no overtime. I pay my own retirement contributions, healthcare, etc. Staying to volunteer on your own time is your choice. MOST teachers have 3 months a year off. I know because my wife is a teacher and she is by no means helping the kids she teaches. She is a baby sitter, period. She doesn’t teach any valuable skills at all. You may have gone after work but this article appears during regular work hours. I’m not sure why it wasn’t posted when I typed it in but it was definitely during the school day.

      • AACounty teacher

        All teachers DO contribute to their pensions….5% of our salary is taken from every pay check and contributed to the pension so the state can invest and use it for the next thirty years. WHY is that so hard for people to understand? The pension is not a gift. If most workers contributed 5% of their annual income into a 401K plan for thirty years, they wouldn’t be whining about not having a pension. They’d have income. The difference being, that they would have the option to use their money at any time (yes, with an early withdrawal penalty) they want. Ours stays with the state to use as it determines for thirty years.
        And, most teachers work well over ten hours a day. I have to be at work at 730 a.m. , get 25 minutes for lunch, but take it at my desk working, and when I leave at 5:00, the parking lot is still quite full. Then teachers go home and work a few more hours.

      • Madison

        We support you 100%!! ignore these folks that have no clue as to the value of a pension, union and the “art of negotiation” – power to you! I only wish I could fly out for a few weeks and help you gather signatures.

    • gilly

      I DID go to work today, didn’t miss a minute. Still able to go to the rally. Loosen up dude!

    • Daniel Miller

      try that when your 70 and unable then talk trash

  • Gal

    While the Govenor takes away from the workers in Maryland he is pushing to allow tax dollars to be used to suppliment college tuition for illegal aliens. Just because they are in this state without the benefit of entering the country ILLEGALLY, they feel we owe them something. Why not deport the lillegals and use taxpayer dollars to benefit the LEGAL taxpayers instead?

  • charlie

    when does a protest ever work??? your just wasting your time. there is nothing you can really do. Soon all of us will be standing in a line for hours just to get some food.. so just be thankful you have enough money to support your family for now.

    • MarylandTeacher

      I should allow a wrong to go unchallenged? Teachers are not on strike but are part of a protest.

      The Public Employees’ and Retirees’ Benefit Sustainability Commission has considered reducing benefits, increasing employee contributions, and even tossing out the current system . The Commission, named by Governor Martin O’Malley, Senate President Mike Miller, and Speaker of the House Michael Busch at the end of the last General Assembly session, excluded both active employees and their union representatives.

      The Commission, which began studying employee benefits and related costs in October, voted on its recommendations after only six half-day meetings. This rush to judgment concerned MSEA Executive Director David Helfman, who called the process “shoddy and offensive

  • MarylandTeacher

    Keep your promise!
    The General Assembly is considering balancing the budget on the backs of educators and other middle class state workers. What happened to the Wall Street crooks? We already contribute 5% of our salary to the pension system. Tax all Marylanders or cut waste, but do not just tax state workers. The budget breaks the promise of a secure retirement for educators, and substantially weakens one of the most important tools we have to recruit and retain educators in our state.

    • ben

      Its always someone else’s fault, right? Is that the entitlement attitude you are teaching your kids?

  • Crystal

    That’s Right MDTeacher you tell them!!A Wrong should not go unchallenged!!My husband is up there protesting as well(And After Work!!),cause he’s in the union too.Before people run there mouth,they need to get the facts themselves first!!!Obviously they are not in the union & have no clue what exactly is going on!!!ALL THE UNION WORKERS OF MARYLAND SHOULD NOT & ARE NOT GOING QUIET!!!!”KEEP YOUR PROMISE!!!,KEEP YOUR PROMISE!!!!!KEEP YOUR PROMISE!!!!KEEP YOUR PROMISE!!!KEEP YOUR PROMISE!!!”

    • Kurt

      The problem is that they are making promises based upon my money and contributions to YOUR pensions. Hell! I don’t even get a pension so why should I be paying for yours?! I am a middle class worker too and I have a family to feed. I can’t afford to pay into your retirement. Stop being greedy! You can’t have everything handed to you on a platter when you want it. These are tough times so suck it up with the rest of us!

      • Mark

        You could have went into teaching yourself. It’s not their fault you picked a job that doesn’t have a pension. Maybe that’s what attracts smart people to those positions.You can’t expect people to work in some of the worst environments with some horrible students for peanuts and no benefits. There has to be some incentive.

        Furthermore, you don’t have to live in MD. Go to a red state if you want less education funding. You’ll also have stupider children

      • Kurt

        Mark, I could have gone into teaching but I decided to help families and disadvantaged children instead. If you or other teachers are working jobs you don’t like and don’t feel you are being well compensated for then who really lacks intelligence here? I love my job and I honestly don’t mind contributing to my own retirement. After all, it’s going to be for me! Contributing my money to your retirement is an offensive act of which I do not approve. Why would I want to go to a red state? I was born and raised here. I even managed to stumble through our education system. I had some incredibly wonderful wonderful teachers! I also had some teachers that were an incredible disappointment and lack the teaching skills to really even call themselves teachers. Unions reward both of these types which downright infuriates me! Reward and bless the good ones and fire the ones that aren’t worth their weight in salt! In the meantime my point still stands, let them pay into their own retirement without raping the taxpayers of every dime. When I read stories such as this, it really makes me wonder what our children are being taught about fiscal and personal responsiblity. May the great teachers be rewarded with a raise; may the bad teachers be fired and may the unions that represent both get out of the way so we can have some true progress!

  • mark

    Talk about biased reporting!

    About ten thousand supporters of public education and teachers rally in Annapolis and WJZ gives equal air time to a band of about 25 teaparty-like nuts. This writer was there and the tiny group of fools in pink were laughable, indeed!

    Perhaps WJZ wants to become another Fox News station?

    • I was there

      Correct. I was checking the News reports of all outlets to see which would report the event most accurately I was there. I saw it.
      There were thousands of public employees, and maybe a hundred marching against them. The angle from which this footage was shot does not reflect the facts.
      – Now we know.

      • Mark Noah

        Not even 100, maybe 30, or 40 tops

    • Mark

      Not to mention that the Tea Party probably had to bus these anti-protesters in from other states.

      • Kurt

        Whine, whine, whine! Welcome to the world of biased reporting liberals. This is what conservatives have been dealing with for years and years. The funny thing is that now you find yourself on the other side of the agenda. It sucks doesnt it? Let me tell you, when we were marching down in DC with the (at least) 500,000 other people, the media couldn’t wait to 1. ignore the story altogether; 2. talk about the mean and nasty racist American people of which there was ZERO or 3. deflate the number of people that were actually present. Welcome to the real world of the press. To you this might seem new but to many of us that have been there, this is nothing more than what the news has become today. I remember when the show like 60 Minutes used to report on fraud and abuse. Now, it has an agenda and seeks to do nothing but further that agenda whenever possilbe while disregarding the facts if necessary.

        The bottom line Mark is that I actually agree with you! If the news didn’t properly report the story correctly then I will stand with you shoulder to shouder. They should report the facts to the people and allow us all to come up with a conclusion based upon those facts. Reporting anything else or simply trying to sway opinion based upon wording is wrong and unethical journalism. But I must caution you, they should be reporting the facts 100% of the time and not with whatever is in line with your beliefs alone. Are you willing to step forward and fight for the truth when they are reporting contrary to the facts and that reporting benefits you? Or, do you have the integrity to stand forth for the truth EVERYTIME the media reports with bias and in contradiction to the facts? That is the question you have to ask yourself. Hopefully in the end, you and I can stand shoulder to shoulder and demand truth in reporting regardless of which side of the issue we are on.

  • Lynn

    WAIT A FREAKING MINUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The Politicians are inside HIDING and trying to FORCE Marylander’s to suck up In-State Tuition to PEOPLE WHO ARE HERE ILLEGALLLLLLLYYYYYY yet want to cut you and me; raise our taxes.

    Is this irony escaped on you all??? Those Politicians need to not only be bullied but fearful Because people are sick and tired of their LIES, GREED, ARROGANCE, IGNORANCE..shall I go on????


      You want to talk about Ironys? Maryland has the means to pay everyone what they were promised and then some but they refuse to capitalize on it for political reasons.

      The federal government has setup a system of collecting revenues from the populations fetish for recreational drugs. They license and in many cases even accommodate with special buildings, places where addicts can consume their various intoxicating alcoholic concoctions. They ignore the fact that virtually all of these millions of intoxicated people will then climb into their vehicles and become intoxicated drivers. Yet all of this is perfectly legal. What makes this even more ridiculous is the fact that the government sponsored recreational drug of choice also holds the infamous title of the most likely to induce violence & other irrational behaviors (see UN, WHO, CDC & all police stats to confirm this fact). This fact alone should be enough to prove that the Governments insistence of sticking its nose where it doesnt belong has nothing to do with the well being of the commoners that it RULES so well.

      They then insist on protecting Big Pharmas private bank accounts by continuing the prohibition of an all natural bonafide medical miracle that is not only a powerful anti-oxidant that purges toxins from your body, but also acts as an effective prophylaxis against old age diseases such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons (search for US Government Cannabis Patent # 6630507). Additionally this same highly beneficial herb contains all 20 Amino Acids, substantial quantities of essential fatty acids and the perfect 3-1 ration of immune system boosting Omega 6 & Omega 3.

      The privelaged Potomac, MD rich kid all grown up (O’Malley) just had the opportunity to right this wrong with a bill that was being considered here in MD last month. But he apparently instructed the states top doc to shoot it down. The state of Colorado recently ended the prohibition of Cannabis and its crime rate dropped by almost 4% in a very short period of time. They now earn tens of millions of dollars in revenues but simply legalizing and taxing an EXISTING MARKET.

      Los Angeles did the same and their VIOLENT crime rate plunged by almost 5%.
      ven more remarkably, the Los Angeles police force was reduced by the equivalent of 500 police officers during this same period of time. Washington state has already moved in this direction and is anticipating $300,000,000 in state tax revenues (enough to solve your pension issues?). All of these states (about 14 so far) will also reap huge savings due to lower policing costs, lower incarceration costs (cannabis users are typically harmless non violent taxpayers who’s only crime was to consume a harmless and nutritional herb rather than a harder alternative. The cost to house and ruin the lives of these non violent citizens costs the taxpayers between $35-$50,000 PER PERSON PER YEAR).

      The point is that marijuana is everywhere and not collecting taxes on it is beyond stupid. At least 10% of the people reading this board consumes marijuana on a regular basis. I know of police officers, engineers, attorneys, professors, entertainers and world leaders that consume marijuana. Its not the evil embodiment of satan as the old government propaganda films would lead you to believe. In fact it is the complete opposite and thats exactly why Big Pharmas bought and paid for politicians insist on keeping it prohibited.

      Tell O’Malley to pick up his fancy gold pen and sign the bill into law. This single act will not change your lives one bit other than in an extremely positive way.

      • DOCSRUS

        George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp. Ben Franklin owned a mill that made hemp paper. Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper

        “Some of my finest hours have been spent on my back veranda, smoking hemp and observing as far as my eye can see” – Thomas Jefferson 1781
        The man lived to a ripe old age of 83 years.

      • Mark Noah

        This is about teachers and compensation….. dude

      • DOCSRUS

        Mark, I was implying that the cannabis prohibition is doing just as much damage as the alcohol prohibition did during the last century. Ending the prohibition on Cannabis would generate revenues that could then be used to pay for more important things such as increasing teachers slalaries two fold! buying them a seat in the Senate, and more prisons for everyone! Spit out your bubble gum and pay attention Mark!

      • robert10inch

        This a….hole was on another thread under the guise handle of Alcoholics are creepy. He’s a J.O. that like to see his own print.


      ROBERT10INCH?…Whats up with the crude monikers? Is this “edthebed” the guy that commented on one of the threads about his addiction to Viagra and his inability to zip up his pants? You are a creepy sort of dude Ed or Robert!

  • OP

    Why do most union bosses have mustaches? No matter where they are — France Italy, Scandinavia, Romania… mustaches and fat bellies.

  • OP

    A great man once said “Give me liberty or give me death!” Now the left has shortened it into a more prosaic “Give me!”


      That great man also knew where to get toilet paper in the middle of a revolution. I do not!.

      No more revolutions please. Just vote the sick batsturds out of office. Make a list, keep it in your wallet and take it to the voting booths.

  • must be a fool

    While I think teachers are extremely important and deserve a lot of respect, I do not think they deserve my money for their retirement.

    Healthcare workers are extremely important, yet I will receive no pension. Nor do I receive healthcare benefits nearly as good as a state employee’s.

    I work in my field because I enjoy it. I enjoy knowing that I play a major role in a patient’s treatment. I would hope that the people who teach my future children would do so because they understand that importance of their role in a child’s life and not just because of the financial benefits they will receive.

  • George

    We should’ve realized that this governor is one or the worst to ever preside over the state of MD. I would applaud anyone who his thinking about leaving this state. I just hope I’m around to see this bum out of office. People voting in MD keep making the same mistake by electing this kind of people. They do nothing but lie to get elected.

  • reenie

    This is more about making the United States into a third world country.The elites,corporations,and banks will rule,while everyone else goes to peon status.I hope the union members dont think that Obama supports them,because he does not!Stop being devided everyone,as that is what they want.They have to destroy the middle class,and get rid of Social Security,before they can have their New World Order.So please stop fighting with each other.

  • Morey Ladini

    This nation is already in the hole for 3 trillion dollars in gov/union pensions…3 TRILLION DOLLARS!!!

    NO, we can’t “all unionize” – because this nation would go broke overnight.

    NO, states can’t just “raise taxes” – because wealthy (and job producing) taxpayers can just move elsewhere (which they have, in droves, from other union dominated state).

    And NO, states “print their own money” like the feds can.

    The rest of us, without job protection and tax-funded pensions, will have to be working into out 70’s to payi for the rest .


      Our government spends $135,000,000 per day on this rediculous war on drugs. but it only focus’s on one herb that is not only harmless but medically and therapeutically invaluable.

      Annual cost to enforce the prohibition:

      35,000,000,000 (billion per yr)

      Annual cost to feed 1,000,000 non violent cannabis users, now converted into wards of the state:

      58,275,000,000 (billion per yr)

      Rough estimate of number of non violent citizens removed from taxpayer status and coverted into non tax paying prisoners:

      1,000,000 non violent citziens and millions of their family members forced into poverty (the cost of which is not included in any of the stats stated here).

      Value of cannabis sales in the USA alone, with currently every dime of this going to the criminal cartels that manage of nations number one cash crop
      36,000,000,000 (billion per yr)

      Either legalize it or criminalize everything else including the legal drugs that are responsible for all of the damage to society. The current situation is offensive to anyone with a higher intelligence than a dog. Its damaging our society and bankrupting our country.

      Im NOT seriously advocating the criminalization of another part of human culture and the trampling of more of our rights. But I only offer this information for the purpose of rationalizing the prohibition of cannabis.

      Alcohol and legal pharmaceuticals are responsible for 40-60% of all violent crime REPORTED in the world, according to the UN, WHO, CDC and every police force in the country.

      Our government allows Big Pharma to produce 100 times more synthetic heroin (oxycontin) than is legally prescribed! It has no nutritional or therapeutic value and is intended strictly for extreme pain relief. Big Pharmas main consumers are drug addicts.

      The abuse of alcohol and legal pharmaceuticals leads to violence, poverty, soaring divorce rates, massive deaths of innocent lives, broken families, reliance upon social services, etc. Its a plague on society yet perfectly legal.

      Alcohol causes close to 1,000 deaths EVERY DAY due to intoxicated drivers stoned out of their minds. The cost to the public is in the billions.

      Pharmaceutical drugs even when used as recommended cause an equivalent number of deaths. The cost to the publich health system is in the billions. Big Pharma takes the profits and spends it on their families. They do not reimburse the tax payers for all of the damage that their products cause.

      Alcohol is one of the leading causes of illness and medical problems. The cost to the public health system and taxpayers is in the billions.

      No one benefits from the war on cannabis except for the 1/2 dozen guys that own pill factories and the politicians that they bought and paid for.

      Cannabis can be used to make bibles, fine paper, linen quality clothing, beverages, ointments, nutritional supplements, saddle blankets, diapers, backpacks, rope, sails for boats, and 20,000 other products. Ending the prohibition of cannabis has the power to turn the United States back into a Manufacturing Superpower which is exactly what was needed to pull us out of the first great depression and exactly what we need to pull us out of this one.

      If you want to correct the current dismal state of affairs then lets start by impeaching O’Malley. I’ll setup a website so everyone can communicate and will contribute $1,000 to get the ball rolling. You guys can decide who will manage the bank account and figure out how we’ll spend it. Im very experienced at attracting and directing traffic online (ive made a nice living doing it for 20 years). I can also contribute in the form of legal assistance (several lawyer friends have already agreed to donate time for the cause). If we can gather enough serious folks together then im fairly confident that we can correct these problems fairly quickly and peacefully by attacking the problem at the source.

      (Edthebed and Robert10inch…..just continue snorting your viagra and playing with yourselves….we dont need to hear from you again)

  • willie man hanging

    Teachers are like eggs, some make good omlets, others are rotten. In spite of what you may think of them personaly, How many of you have jobs that give you three months off a year with pay, snow days, holidays, conferences blah, blah amounting to about six months of work a year. How many of you pay 5% into your 401-k, little if any into a solid well covered health insurance for all family members during your working years & retirement? Not many in the private sector that’s for sure. I’m not against unions but they need to get real in these economic times.

  • Edthe bed

    Teachers are like eggs, some are good for making Omlets while others are rotten.
    They work six mos a yr at best, have great bennies & its time they shared the burden like the rest of American workers.

  • Debbie

    Amazing that our representatives vote to give hard earned taxpayer money to ILLEGALS for college yet want to take away from LEGAL union workers.
    I for one think it is time to send these representatives on their way. Stop giving to ILLEGALS and making this state a haven for them and start taking care of our own.

    • Kurt

      As a tea partier, I couldn’t agree with you more Debbie. But since the state is being run by democrats, who are you going to vote for now? Now that no one is in your corner, you stand with the rest of us that were already disenfranchised years ago. It sure does suck doesn’t it?

  • Herman Glimsher


    WISE UP!!!!!!!


  • Linda

    comment to Ben…Do you know how much money a teacher makes, even after receiving their masters degree..prob. not. Do you actually know how much time a teacher puts in on her/his own time…prob not. Most teacher put in more working time than your average 40 hr worker.So…until you get your facts straight, PLEASE do not make a comment!

  • Publius

    Every year Baltimore County Public Schools takes $25,000 from Michael Milken, the junk bond Madoff of the ’80, who make a deal to keep 2 Billion dollars of stolen money after being charged with 98 felony counts of SEC violations and got out of jail in 2 years on a 10 year sentence. They call it the Michael Milken Teacher of the Year Award. These blood sucking maggot don’t care what mafia they get their pound of flesh from the taxpayer. Crooks like Milken, Union bosses that buy the “public servants,” and the school unions. Mean while my kid goes to college and can’t write a 4 paragraph essay or do
    algebra 1. i want a voucher!!!!!!


    Breaking News:

    House to restore bulk of education money
    House plans higher fees; deeper cuts elsewhere

    Common sense finally prevails!, a rare display of foresight from our dear leaders for our future generations! Their may be some hope afterall!. We must give credit where credit is due. Teachers are an important resource and should be recognized and respected as such. A ray of sunshine in a sea of shlt!

  • James Jones

    Maybe the teachers that are taking the time to pontificated here can explain why in the past thirty years the U.S. has gone from number 1 in the world in education to number 25. Are they giving all this extra time to HELP THE CHILDREN with all this overtime because they are not doing their job during normal school hours? One thing is for sure, someone is not doing their job when our children can’t compete in the real world and we have tripled the amount of money we have thrown at education over the past twenty years.

    I have taught you can’t run fast enough to get me to teach, I have teachers in my family as well as cops. I will say to all the teachers here what I say to all the teachers and cops in my family when they start whining about their jobs. FIND ANOTHER JOB, no one is forcing you to teach or be a cop, but when you get in the real world you will find out real quick just how good you have it.

    The primary purpose of private sector unions is to get workers a larger share of the profits they helped create. Just exactly what are the profits that these people are generating working for the government, there are no profits to be shared and the truth has finally come to light, they are working against the financial interests of the hard working taxpayers.

    However, that is what unions have done from day one, you see, unions are nothing more than a ponzi scheme. A ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to separate investors, not from any actual profit earned by the organization, but from their own money or money paid by subsequent investors. As a taxpayer, I am all in, it is time to do away with the unions in government, government workers are protected under federal law, government workers do not need a union.

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