We hope this week finds you in high spirits and ready for action. Last Wednesday, our Healthcare Taskforce organized a powerful direct action outside the CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield offices in Owings Mills. While we've already shared a comprehensive recap with you, we're excited to share a new highlight video that captures the spirit of our movement.
But the excitement doesn't stop there – many of our task forces have incredible events in the pipeline, and you'll find the details in the upcoming sections.
As we draw closer to the election, with just three weeks to go, our endorsed candidates are tirelessly working to turn out the vote. Be sure to visit our Election Corner section where you can learn more about these candidates and why they're perfect for the roles they're running for.
Let's keep pushing for progress together. Stay engaged, stay informed, and stay united.
The Progressive Maryland Team
In the Bowie City Council District 3 seat race, one candidate stands out as a beacon of change and progress. Iyamide House, endorsed by Progressive Maryland, has been making waves with her visionary platform, strong leadership, and unwavering commitment to the community. With the recent endorsement from Aisha Braveboy, the State's Attorney for Prince George's County, Maryland, House's campaign gains even more momentum. In this blog post, we proudly highlight the remarkable qualities that make our candidate Iyamide House the ideal choice for the District 3 seat, especially as the only woman in the race.Read more
Climate and human rights action at the state level; Feds still paralyzed without House Speaker. News You Can Use
States are busy on projects in carbon reduction (and research, go Terps!), schools improvement, collective bargaining opportunities, fighting book banning and returning citizen improvements. Maryland, we see, is at the heart of all these activities. Good thing. Just a short Metro ride away, the GOP's razor-thin majority in the US House is unable to check the box (elect a new Speaker -- will anyone do?) that would allow the US government to function. It might not all be pretty, but it's all News You Can Use.
Izola Shaw, candidate for Rockville City Council, is a trailblazer for renters' rights and community progress. Endorsed by organizations such as Progressive Maryland, CASA, and Greater Greater Washington, Shaw has garnered widespread support from working-class communities as well as various local community leaders across Rockville who are very well-known and highly respected.
Progressive Maryland Rallies at CareFirst to Demand Corporation Provide Care & Reverse Denied Claims
Our community members and folks struggling to get the care they need took a stand outside CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield offices in Owings Mills yesterday morning! This was one of fifteen actions happening across the country to tell health insurers:
- We’ve had it with their greed
- They don’t have the right to decide what treatment, tests, or medicines we need
- People’s health, not their wealth should be the priority
- To put people first
Recap video from the rally. Footage provided by John Spillane.
Momentum is building for a statewide grassroots movement to stop these profiteering corporations. How do we fight their power? With people power! This is how we can win immediate relief for patients who need care and pave the way to a publicly funded, truly universal healthcare system. We’re already winning important fights against Big PhRMA and we’re confident that we can win the campaign against Big Insurance, too.
This public pressure campaign needs your support! Urge Congress to take action on claim denials!
Stay tuned for updates and more opportunities to take action next week.
Many thanks to everyone who came out yesterday - it was great to be with you at this powerful event. Special shout out to our speakers, volunteers, Task Force leaders, and partners for making it happen!
This Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month, we honor the rich cultures, histories, and contributions of the Indigenous communities that have shaped our nation for centuries. We acknowledge the Accohannock Indian Tribe, Assateague Peoples Tribe, Nause-Waiwash Band of Indians, Piscataway Conoy Tribe, Piscataway Indian Nation, Pocomoke Indian Nation and Youghiogheny River Band of Shawnee Indians as the original stewards of Maryland's lands. We honor their history of resilience and resistance. We are grateful to the Native people who contribute to our lives everyday in essential and meaningful ways.
When we say we are working toward a more just and equitable future for Marylanders, that includes our Indigenous communities. There is so much work to be done — passing federal and state legislation for reparations; formally acknowledging Indigenous history and land rights; and, of course, ensuring that Native residents have affordable healthcare and housing, access to quality education, clean air and drinking water, and the many other basic human rights that everyone deserves. Progressive Maryland is committed to this work.
Furthermore, as October unfolds, we are also reminded that it is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, a time to stand in solidarity with survivors and work towards creating safer, more supportive communities.
As the US House flounders Speakerless with some big crises at hand, activists continue to push the local, state and federal measures that will help working families. Maryland's Senate leader hints that the hiring-hall grip of local central committees on who is appointed to the Assembly may get a serious look (at last!) from the legislators themselves. Meanwhile, fossil fuel use at the individual level in Maryland continues to be a huge contributor to poor air quality, and teachers are not really incentivized to stay in the profession since non-teacher salaries continue to show a bigger and bigger advantage. It's News You Can Use this week.
Progressive Maryland's 7/10 Black Workers Center Plays Pivotal Role in Securing Project Labor Agreements for Prince George's County School Construction
Last week, Progressive Maryland's 7/10 Black Workers Center secured a commitment to improve working conditions on school construction projects in Prince George's County. This is a major victory for workers and the community, and it is the result of years of hard work and continued advocacy for high quality employment opportunities.
“PLAs are a win-win for workers, the building trades, and the community. They provide good jobs for workers, create a stable workforce for employers, and help to ensure that construction projects are completed on time and on budget,” emphasized Shannon Talbert, Lead Organizer of Progressive Maryland’s Black Workers Center.
The 7/10 Black Workers Center organized residents to contact County Executive, Angela Alsobrooks, and urge her to support a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) that would include provisions for increased local hiring and the creation of union jobs. A PLA is a pre-hire collective bargaining agreement between a project owner and the building trades unions that establishes the terms and conditions of employment for a specific project. PLAs are known for providing good wages, benefits for workers, and for promoting safety and efficiency on construction projects.
The 7/10 Black Workers Center's efforts also brought attention to the issue of wage theft on the public-private partnership for new school construction in Prince George’s County. Wage theft is a serious problem in the construction industry, and it is especially harmful to low-wage workers. The 7/10 Black Workers Center's advocacy has helped to ensure that workers will be protected from wage theft on future school construction projects in the county.
"Our efforts ensure that Black workers are able to provide for their families. This victory ensures that students attend high quality schools, in well-resourced, 21st century buildings, and the people that build them make a living wage. Higher labor standards and better opportunities are the foundation of healthy, thriving communities," said Talbert.
The 7/10 Black Workers Center's victory is a powerful example of what can be accomplished when workers and community members come together to fight for change. It is also a reminder that PLAs are an important tool for ensuring that workers are treated fairly and that construction projects are completed on time and on budget.
Larry Stafford Jr.,Executive Director of Progressive Maryland, stated, "This achievement reflects the power of grassroots organizing and the determination of our community to fight for workers' rights. We have proven that when we come together, we can secure a fair future for all in Prince George's County."
Benefits of Project Labor Agreements
Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) benefit workers, the building trade, and the community in a number of ways. For workers, PLAs provide good wages and benefits, job security, and safe working conditions. For the building trade, PLAs create a stable workforce and promote efficiency on construction projects. For the community, PLAs help to ensure that local workers are hired and that projects are completed on time and on budget.
- Good wages and benefits: PLAs require employers to pay workers prevailing wages and benefits. This means that workers will be paid a fair wage for their work, and they will have access to important benefits such as health insurance, retirement savings plans, and paid time off.
- Job security: PLAs can help to create job security for workers by preventing employers from laying off workers during the course of a project. This is especially important for workers in the construction industry, where jobs can be seasonal and unpredictable.
- Safe working conditions: PLAs typically include provisions for safety training and job site safety inspections. This helps to ensure that workers are safe on the job and that accidents are prevented.
- Local hiring: PLAs can be used to promote local hiring by requiring employers to hire a certain percentage of local workers on a project. This helps to ensure that the benefits of construction projects are shared by the local community.
- On-time and on-budget completion: PLAs can help to ensure that construction projects are completed on time and on budget by creating a stable workforce and promoting efficiency.
Happy Monday! Wishing all who are observing Yom Kippur an easy and meaningful fast.
As we head into the last week of September, we want to take a moment to reflect on the tremendous success of our 2023 Annual Gala, which took place last Thursday. With over 160 attendees and an inspiring speech from Congressman Raskin, the event was a night to remember, bringing together elected officials, community leaders, and passionate activists to celebrate the achievements of the progressive movement in Maryland.
Our gala garnered attention in the press, with Maryland Matters covering the event. You can read the full article here. For a comprehensive recap of the gala, including highlights, award recipients, and more, please check out the ‘Gala Recap’ section later in the memo.
Read on for more updates, action items, and loads of events in this week's Memo!
The Progressive Maryland Team