As the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus continue to change, we continue to push on a day-by-day basis for all of your employers to suspend non-essential public health and safety services and place all other employees either in a telework or paid leave status.

In fact, beginning at 4pm today, the three Montgomery County public employee unions, Local 1994, FOP (Police) and IAFF (Firefighters & EMTs) will begin discussions/negotiations over which essential services are needed to maintain Montgomery County’s public health, safety and transportation infrastructures.

In addition, we will be discussing how to reward those employees who are considered essential to that mission. Safety apparel, equipment and protocols will be important factors that must be agreed upon. We must also agree on quarantine procedures for employees who are exposed to the virus during the course of performing their assigned duties and responsibilities.

The three unions are committed to absolute solidarity in our collective efforts to assure that all our members and their families are protected to the highest level possible. We will not be divided! 

Once we reach agreement with Montgomery County, it will become the blueprint for agreements with the Park & Planning Commission and the Housing Opportunity Commission.

For our Athena members, we intend to include you in the Montgomery County agreement.

It’s our understanding that due to the total closure of the Prince Georges Library System, those members are out of harm’s way and are receiving full pay.

Our Cumberland City Police are receiving the protection apparel and equipment needed to protect them.

As we move forward with the County, Park & Planning and HOC, we will continue to insist that your employers put you and your families first and that they not treat this as a budget event and treat it as the public health crisis that it is.

On another note, there may be politicians who show up in your worksites for a photo op. Please do not allow yourself to be used as a political pawn and NEVER FORGET that Montgomery County Council Member Hans Reimer led the the fight against your negotiated raises in Montgomery County last year.

In fact, Reimer already has begun publicly bashing the Montgomery County tentative agreement that goes into effect July 2020 as being unsustainable. Think about this for a minute: we have a Council member who is paid over $140,000 per year (with guaranteed COLAs every December) for a part-time job already signaling his “NO” vote for your next year’s raise without the benefit of any discussion with the Executive or our bargaining team about the intent and goals of the new agreement. If Reimer shows up in your worksites, be polite, as I know you will, but remember he is not your friend and he does not care about you and your family’s financial well-being.

We will continue to update you as quickly as possible as circumstances evolve. Meanwhile, please follow the CDC virus prevention guidelines and make sure that you do everything necessary to protect you and your family. Thank you for your continued commitment to serving the public and your continued support of our union family.

In Solidarity,
Gino Renne
President, UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO
International Vice President, UFCW

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