Employees Crowded City Council Meeting to Testify on Their Desire for Voice on the Job

Laurel, Md. – A strong majority of the city of Laurel’s Department of Public Works’ employees showed up at the February 27 city council meeting to ask the Council to support their unionization efforts.  Most of the workforce have signed union authorization cards with UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO but their unionization efforts are stymied by the fact that the city does not have collective bargaining codified into city law for its employees, except for its police force. City police have had union representation since 2011.

DPW employees testified at the hearing, calling on the Council to introduce legislation granting them collective bargaining rights.

Lloyd Holloway a Laborer II with the DPW told the Council, “When I found out there was no union here, it took me by surprise. We put our lives on the line every day….we should have a union. We need a union.”

Like Holloway, other employees pointed out that their jobs are dangerous.

“I have worked for the city for eight years in recycling,” said Kyle Lewis. “A super dangerous job. We have a really tough job, and we would like to get heard. We are in the streets every day.”

Others pointed out how the DPW employees are essential to making the city run.

Ruth Walls, a Laurel citizen, told the Council:

“My husband and I have lived here for the past 40 years. We have been blessed to have incredible service from the department of public works…when a person is hired by DPW, there are many responsibilities – duties that an employee has may include pothole repair, snow and ice removal, and many other duties. As a nurse I’m grateful that the DPR provides an essential service. It’s easy for the citizens of Laurel to take the department for granted…. The DPW employees lift heavy items which can take an incredible toll on their bodies…I applaud and uplift the department and their employees. God bless you and thank you.”

DPW Workers in the city of Laurel crowded into the city council meeting to testify about their need for union representation.

Derrall Bridges (Driver) pointed out that the city is willing to invest in tools and equipment but leaves the workforce behind.  

“We go out here and buy a quarter of a million-dollar truck, and other employees have new vehicles, but there’s no pay raise for us. People applying are laughing and passing up the offer because there’s no money.”

Jobs are not competitive because wages have not kept up, noted many of the employees testifying. They also pointed out that they never know if a benefit will be taken away from them because the City has the final say, with no input from the workforce.

“In Fiscal year 2022, inflation was 8.5%, however, the City only provided a 2.5% cost of living adjustment. We all took a big pay cut,” testified Kate Wright, a DPW administrative assistant. “Inadequate pay for our CDL drivers has reached a critical state.  Even after counting the benefits that government jobs are known for: we. are. not. competitive. Since 2010, the City has added over 1000 new homes, 5000 new residents, and 6 miles of road. What hasn’t changed? 8 equipment operators… 16 laborers.” 

“Workers should be able to collectively bargain, and Laurel is a city that cares about public safety and we care about all of our workers…Laurel DPW are essential workers and should be treated as such,” said City Council Member-at-Large Martin Mitchell, who is introducing legislation for the workforce to collectively bargain.

“DPW employees are essential workers, and work one of the most dangerous jobs,” said UFCW Local 1994 President Gino Renne. “The right to form a union and collectively bargain is a fundamental right. We’re confident that the Council understands this and will do the right thing and pass legislation to allow them to have a voice on the job.”

# # #

Local 1994 represents 8,000 public employees in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County and beyond. From its inception, UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO has fought to protect workers’ rights, negotiate fair wages, and protect safety and security of workers. 

Read More

Statement from UFCW Local 1994 and FOP Lodge 35 on the death of Tyre Nichols

For Immediate Release

January 30, 2023


Gino Renne,, 240-876-7701

Lee Holland,,  301-948-4286 

Statement from UFCW Local 1994 and FOP Lodge 35 on the death of Tyre Nichols

The criminal actions of the Memphis police officers involved in the death of Tyre Nichols are horrifying and sickening. The actions of these officers eroded the already fragile trust between law enforcement professionals and the community. There is no place in law enforcement for men or women who would commit such a heinous act, or for those who stood by and let it happen. 

Everything people have said is wrong about policing is reflected in those few minutes of video with an obviously overpowered man on the ground calling out for his mother. The job of our law enforcement officers should be as protectors of the public, not its judge or executioner. 

As unions, our work is for our members, but we also have a commitment outside our membership, especially when it comes to safeguarding the community and their basic human rights. As such, we are steadfast and will redouble our efforts towards working together with our community leaders, our faith organizations, our civic institutions, and the public to ensure that Montgomery County’s police and sheriff’s departments adhere to the basic principles of policing – to protect and serve with the utmost compassion and caring. 

But we cannot stop at just adherence to the basic principles, we need to take a deep look at what is being expected of law enforcement in Montgomery County. This means looking inwards at our culture and promoting policy that better protects the public from such injustices. Our discussions must be focused on real issues affecting our County and must include the rank and file. 

FOP 35 and UFCW Local 1994 are extremely proud of the professionalism of our public safety members. We continue to push to maintain our strict hiring standards even as applications for new recruits is at an all-time low. 

We have always insisted that there’s no place for quotas, there’s no place for profiling, and there’s no place for being a bystander in public safety. We insist that our standards must reflect the demands of our residents and the needs of our community, and our training must always be rigorous. We must judge officers on their quality of police work, not the quantity, and we must do it now. 

FOP 35 AND UFCW Local 1994 are committed to building a future that ensures dignity, security, and justice for all. 

# # #

UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO represents public service employees in Montgomery County, Maryland. FOP Lodge 35 represents Montgomery County’s police officers. Together they represent over 7,000 county employees.

Read More

Progressive Maryland | Vote on your new agreement

Vote yes or no on your new agreement:

Voting ends December 7, 2022, at 5:00 p.m.

Progressive Maryland Tentative Agreement

File size: 825.51 KB
Created: 12-02-2022
Updated: 12-02-2022
Hits: 120



Notice: JavaScript is required for this content.

Read More

November 2022 Member Meeting Materials

November 2022 pdfExecutive Board Actions - Membership Meeting Aug 2022 - Oct 2022 Size: 104.81 KBHits: 62Date added: 11-28-2022Date modified: 11-28-2022 DownloadPreview pdfAgenda - Membership Meeting 2022-1130 Size: 67.20 KBHits: 79Date added: 11-28-2022Date modified: 11-28-2022 DownloadPreview pdfMCGEO - Member Meeting Report 08.01.2022-10.31.2022 Size: 234.53 KBHits: 64Date added: 11-28-2022Date modified: 11-28-2022 DownloadPreview pdfMinutes - Membership Meetings 2022-0907 Size: 76.68 KBHits: 63Date added: 11-28-2022Date modified: 11-28-2022 DownloadPreview

Read More