The Washington Post
Posted at 10:24 PM ET, 02/27/2012
Labor unions rally in Annapolis
By Greg Masters
Holding signs and chanting “Labor rights are human rights,” several hundred union members gathered Monday night in a sometimes boisterous rally outside the Maryland State House to support all things labor-friendly and decry what they described as a growing anti-union national sentiment.
Targets covered everything from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney — who they derided for telling an audience recently that his wife drives “a couple of Cadillacs” — to Gov. Martin O’Malley’s plan to shift responsibility for paying half of teacher pension costs to counties.
One Baltimore teacher hoisted himself onto the base of a statue to make an impassioned case for striking.
“This ain’t enough. We have to strike,” said Alan Rebar, 44, before being forced down and — protesting loudly — guided away by police.
Alan Rebar, 44, a Baltimore teacher who took part in a labor union rally in Annapolis on Monday, climbed a statue to urge fellow teachers to strike. His views did not reflect those of the organizers. Sent by: Greg Masters Photo Editor: Greg Masters (Greg Masters - TWP)
Union issues will receive more focus in the next month as legislators get closer to making key decisons on the budget. The biggest budget issue for labor unions is the proposed teacher pension shift.
Unions on Monday circulated a letter from a state consultant that suggested if counties are responsble for a share of the pension costs, it could appear as unfunded liabilities on their balance sheets — possibly jeopardizing counties’ bond ratings, and therefore, the price they would have to pay to borrow money for construction projects.
Besides teachers’ unions, Monday night’s rally drew members of the Communication Workers of America, Baltimore County Federation of Public Employees, United Auto Workers, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, International...