Charles County Workers Win Historic Labor Peace Agreement

La Plata, Charles County, Maryland – The workers who provide Charles County, Maryland with excellent public services have won a major victory in their drive to form a labor union. Today the County Commissioners have agreed to a labor peace agreement with county employees. The agreement outlines the rights of workers and the county to ensure essential county services remain intact while Charles County becomes a healthier, safer, and more rewarding place to work.

“As essential employees, we work day-in and day-out to provide important service to the residents of Charles County,” said Kevin Yates, an Equipment Operator who has worked for Charles County for 33 years. “We applaud the County Commission for ensuring that employees can freely organize for shared prosperity, community, fairness and respect. Together we can make our communities better than ever!” Al Butler, a Meter Technician who has worked for Charles County for 21 years, shared Yates’ enthusiasm. "There's no better time than now to have a voice on the job. We thank the County Commissioners for approving the agreement that provides a process for us to have a voice with a seat at the table where decisions are being made."

“I fully support and respect employees’ rights, and I am pleased by today’s vote to approve a neutrality agreement that will protect Charles County Government employees,” said Charles County Commissioner President Reuben B. Collins, II, Esq. “With the neutrality agreement in place, if our local government workforce decides a union process is the best way forward, they are free to exercise their right to organize and bargain collectively with their employer.”

“This labor peace agreement provides an equitable organizing structure, ensures supervisors will remain neutral and not retaliate against employees as they exercise their right to join the union, and provides a clear process for employees to seek union recognition, with a third party neutral enforcing the agreement,” explained Glenard S. Middleton, Executive Director of AFSCME Council 67. “During this very difficult COVID-19 pandemic, while so many are struggling, every day presents a new challenge. With a labor peace agreement, the Charles County Administration and employees can come together and collaborate on policies and procedures that will affect the welfare of the entire county.”

Middleton and the Charles County organizers presented the County Commissioners with a signed statement before the vote. “We care about Charles County. Many of us have worked decades providing service to our community. At the end of the day our organizing is about respect and opportunity. We applaud the Charles County Commission for respecting the employees’ right to organize and provide a meaningful voice. We look forward to working together to address issues and find solutions.”

ABOUT AFSCME AFSCME's 1.4 million members provide the vital services that make America happen. With members in communities across the nation, serving in hundreds of different occupations — from nurses to corrections officers, child care providers to sanitation workers — AFSCME advocates for fairness in the workplace, excellence in public services and freedom and opportunity for all working families.