Progressive Maryland's Weekly Memo for May 25

Two early-June chapter meetings, in Montgomery (June 7) and Prince George's (June 9) kick off member-driven campaigns for better pay and better governance.

Greetings Progressive Marylanders,

Welcome to the weekly catch-up and summary memo from Progressive Maryland. If you missed blog posts, see the links below.

We are gearing up for early June meetings of the Montgomery County (June 7) and Prince George’s (June 9) chapters to tackle important issues.

Progressive Maryland is engaging with the nationwide Fight For Fifteen, a significant boost to the minimum wage, starting in Montgomery County.

The campaign will kick off June 7th with Progressive Maryland's first Montgomery County chapter meeting.

By organizing our members throughout the county, we helped pass paid sick leave last summer, improved wage enforcement, and now we're going to make sure every Montgomery County worker is paid a fair living wage. 

If you want to join the movement, this is the place to be. RSVP and invite your friends. Help us build power for working families to change the system that keeps so many in poverty. Here’s why it matters, and why Montgomery County activists should also point toward the June 21 public hearing before the Montgomery County Council.

Across the nation, workers are struggling to make ends meet on low wages as the cost of living continues to soar. Even in Montgomery County where the minimum wage has gradually increased since 2013, workers are finding it more and more difficult to meet their basic needs such as housing, food, and child care in what is consistently ranked as one of the most expensive regions in the country. 

The County Council is considering a bill that would raise the minimum wage in Montgomery County to $15 by 2020. If passed, this bill would put more money into the pockets of working families as well as boost economic growth in the county. 

Unfortunately, the bill does not include tipped workers who currently only receive a substandard minimum wage of $4.00 per hour and must make up the rest in tips which may fluctuate wildly based on individual customers, the shifts assigned, or even the weather outside.

Employers are supposed to compensate tipped workers for any amount not earned after combining their pay and tips to ensure they receive at least the minimum wage. However national studies show a rate of non-compliance of over 80%! Women make up 60% of all tipped workers and 70% of servers, so the current tip structure serves as legal wage inequity. Furthermore, 90% of women working as servers report being sexually harassed by customers and two-thirds experienced sexual harassment from a supervisor.

To ensure the fair treatment of all workers, end gender pay discrepancies, put a stop to workplace sexual harassment, and promote economic security for the most marginalized workers, we are asking the Montgomery County Council to eliminate the substandard wage for tipped workers and pass a $15 minimum wage for all. Sign the petition to urge the Council to include tipped workers.

Our growing chapter Progressive Prince George’s meets June 9 at 6:30 at Local 400, UFCW first floor meeting room, 8400 Corporate Drive, Landover Md. 20785. It’s near the New Carrollton Metrorail station on the Route 50 side.  Email about carpooling, if you can offer a ride or need a ride.

An agenda driven by what the participants decide will probably include Prince George’s County Council legislation and the county budget; neighborhood issues such as Walmart intrusions; continued efforts on police reforms; school performance; the rewrite of the zoning code and planning documents and how to keep them pro-people; environmental justice and power plant and (threatened) incinerator siting, and the county’s dependent relationship with the state for law and funds.


Last week the BlogSpace told you about these important activist issues; here are links in case you missed them:

  • Progressive Maryland lead organizer Justin Vest outlined how last week's presidential order on overtime pay will help all US workers, including 800,000 in Maryland, who are currently pushed for more than 40 hours' work a week without compensation because of outdated rules.
  • Important measures on police accountability and criminal justice reform, top priorities for Progressive Maryland, were signed by Gov. Larry Hogan Thursday, May 19.
  • Gov. Larry Hogan has left unsigned some important bills, and if he doesn’t veto them by the end of May they will become law without his signature. Our allies, like the Sierra Club, are urging the governor not to veto bills enhancing the state’s move to renewable energy sources and the jobs that come with it, and reducing the use of pesticides that clearly are devastating the pollinators, mostly bees, that keep our food growing and headed for our tables.

Stick with Progressive Maryland to stay informed, and with our Facebook page to stay updated as the primary election approaches. As always, the hard day to day work of citizenship and fighting for ordinary people is on the table. Power yields nothing without a demand, Frederick Douglass said, and being organized gives us power to fight back.

AND REMEMBER THIS BLOGSPACE IS FOR THE PROGRESSIVE VOICES OF MARYLAND. Want to include your voice? Send a submission, or questions, to the moderator at