Izola Shaw: A True Progressive Champion Running for Rockville City Council

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. 

 

Read more
Share

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.

To view the livestream, click here. You can also view photos from the rally here

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!

Share

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, October 10, 2023

memo_logo.png

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. 



 

Read more
Share

Leaderless House leaves activist scope -- News you can Use this week

NUCU_logo_new.pngAs 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.



 

Read more
Share

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.
Share

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, October 2, 2023

Today is National Child Health Day, a reminder of our unwavering commitment to health equity for all, especially our youngest residents. As we mark this important day, we are reminded of the critical work we do every day to fight for a healthier Maryland.

Tonight, the Anne Arundel County Council is set to vote on a Medicare for All resolution, telling Congress to pass the Medicare For All Act of 2023. We submitted testimony in favor of the measure. We're keeping our fingers crossed and hoping that the council will join other municipalities in Maryland and adopt this resolution!  

Our task forces and issue campaigns are kicking off this quarter hard at work with lots of organizing. Read on for updates and ways to get involved! Check out events from our allies, and don't forget to check out Latinx Heritage Month celebrations, ending on October 15th.

 

In Solidarity,

The Progressive Maryland Team

Here’s what’s in today’s memo:

    • Quick Actions
    • PM task forces & issue campaigns: HCTF & EJTF
    • Events from Allies
    • Latinx Heritage Month Events
    • State & National news

Quick Actions:

  • SIgn this petition to support Councilmember Oriadha’s fight for a maternal and caregiver health policy change and fair representation for all. 

Updates: PM Task Forces & Issue Campaigns 

Healthcare Justice: Taking Action This Fall!

Healthcare Issue Organizing

We’re kicking off this quarter with an invitation to supporters to join our Healthcare Task Force! Our HCTF leaders are organizing for Medicare For All, lower prescription drug prices, an end to insurance company claim and care denials and for relief for Marylanders with medical  debt. They’re a great team doing some really rewarding work. You can be part of it-contact Patty to get the details.

Actions and Updates 

We’re hosting community events in the Baltimore area and in Montgomery County this October. Be part of a National Day Of Action next week, featuring a local Baltimore area action that will spotlight how health insurers are putting their profits before people. We’ll also be doing door knocking on Oct. 22nd in the Silver Spring area and putting on a community social on October 29th in Baltimore City. Contact Patty 

As noted in our opening, it’s an important night for Medicare For All in Anne Arundel County! Congratulations and thanks to the health care advocates and organizers who have worked hard and persistently the past few years to get the AA Council to consider a Resolution in support of Medicare For All that encourages ALL of our Maryland Congressional delegation to support the Medicare For All Act of 2023. 

Environmental Justice Task Force

EJTF Listening Session: Organizer with the Greater Bay Brook Alliance attends  

To explore the concerns of Cherry Hill residents in South Baltimore, the Environmental Justice Task Force (EJTF) hosted a Listen-Lead-Share (LLS) session at the Enoch Pratt Library in Cherry Hill on Saturday, September 30th.  

Ralinda Wimbush, Environmental Justice Organizer with the Greater Baybrook Alliance, attended the session. Ralinda, originally from Annapolis, MD, is a Cherry Hill resident. She shared that a central issue preventing many residents from engaging in grassroots movements is the lack of incentives and economic opportunities. On the day prior to the LLS session, she spearheaded a neighborhood cleanup event in South Baltimore with 50 participants. To show gratitude for their effort, community members received a small token of appreciation. The EJTF looks to hopefully collaborate with the GBA in the near future.

With durable people-power, the EJTF aims to empower the community of Cherry Hill, ensuring it remains renowned for its illustrious history rather than pollution. It's time to end environmental racism NOW! If you have a passion for environmental justice and want to support the EJTF, please reach out to SirJames.

 

EVENTS FROM ALLIES:

Rally to Support Anton's Law and Ensure Transparency Around Police Misconduct

“Help keep policing transparent and accountable by coming out to a demonstration from 8:30 to 9:30 before the hearing, and then join us at the hearing from 9:30 to 11:30 if you are able”

 Peace and Justice event on Sunday, Oct 15 in Baltimore County.

 

Hispanic Heritage Heat🔥🗓️🎉

PS: "As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, don't forget to check back here every week for new and exciting events that pay tribute to and uplift our vibrant Hispanic community!"

Sandy Point State Park will host a Hispanic Heritage Environmental Festival on Oct. 2. 

Presented by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Chesapeake Conservancy, Corazón Latino, the National Park Service, and Defensores De La Cuenca, the event runs 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features boat rides, Zumba classes, fishing demonstrations, food trucks, and more.

Employ Prince George’s Hispanic Heritage & Multicultural Job & Resource Fair, Thursday, October 12

Designed for multilingual jobseekers, you will have the opportunity to connect with companies and programs with hundreds of jobs. Sign up here.

 
 

Don't forget to follow us on social media!

Share

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, September 25, 2023

memo_logo.png

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!

 

In Solidarity,

The Progressive Maryland Team



 

Read more
Share

Maryland federal workers in impact zone as government shutdown looms; "Run, Jamie, Run..." News You Can Use

NUCU_logo_new.pngAs a federal shutdown looms, Maryland's 150,000-plus civil servants face the ultimate bossism -- the need to show up for work without a paycheck while members of the US House fumble a solution repeatedly thanks to the divisions in GOP-majority ranks. Plus -- a ("somewhat sheepish") Jamie Raskin is urged to reconsider his decision not to run for the Senate at Progressive Maryland's annual Gala in Annapolis, Maryland hospitals (which ones?) flunk a safety check and new Maryland laws go into effect Oct. 1 It's News You Can Use...



 

Read more
Share

The Progressive Maryland 2023 Annual Gala was a Celebration of Unity and Democracy

Congressman Jamie Raskin gave a keynote speech that ignited the crowd.

The Progressive Maryland 2023 Annual Gala took place on Thursday, September 21st, and it was a night to remember with over 150 attendees. The event was a resounding success, with elected officials, community leaders, and passionate activists coming together to celebrate the achievements of the progressive movement in Maryland.

Image of event attendees listening to Congressman Jamie Raskin’s keynote address. Photo Credit: Bethany Steele.

The highlight of the evening was undoubtedly Congressman Jamie Raskin's powerful speech. With his unwavering commitment to upholding democracy, Congressman Raskin reminded everyone in the room that when Democrats stand together, there's no limit to what we can achieve. “Democracy is not just a static framework, Democracy is something in motion, Democracy is always growing… and we’ve got to get Democracy back on the growth track in America–and let’s start with giving everybody the right to vote and be represented,” said Congressman Jamie Raskin. He also addressed the need to put climate solutions at the forefront of our agenda to conserve the world in which we all live. His words resonated deeply, inspiring all attendees to continue fighting for the rights and well-being of working families.

Ben Jealous, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, 2018 Democratic Nominee for Governor and longtime supporter of Progressive Maryland, introduced Congressman Raskin. He is also openly hoping that Congressman Raskin will run for the soon-to-be-open U.S. Senate seat. “I’ve always been a fan of our Congressman and would be a huge supporter of him rethinking his decision not to run. He is a warrior, the fighter that will turn things around for us, the champion that Maryland needs,“ he stated to Progressive Maryland staff. Ben Jealous’ words about the Congressman at the Gala prompted the crowd to chant “Run! Jamie, Run!” while the Congressman was walking up to the podium to give his inspirational speech. 

Congressman Jamie Raskin recieving the Courage Award from Progressive Maryland Executive Director, Larry Stafford. Photo Credit: Bethany Steele.

Many other legislators showed their appreciation for Progressive Maryland through ticket contributions or simply sending their love if they could not be with us in person. The legislators in attendance at the event are as follows:

  • Baltimore County Delegate Alethia McCaskill (D44B)
  • Baltimore County Delegate Sheila Ruth (D44B)
  • Prince George’s County Councilmember Eric Olson (D3)
  • Prince George’s County Councilmember Wala Blegay (D6)
  • Prince George’s County Councilmember Krystal Oriadha (D7)
  • Baltimore City Democratic Central Committee Member Tiffany Jones
  • Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee Member Sharonda Huffman
  • Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee Member Jennifer Mendes Dwyer
  • Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee Member Ian Miller
  • Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee Member Connor White
  • Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee Member Andrew Saundry
  • Frederick County Executive Jessica Fitzwater
  • Maryland Delegate Ken Kerr (D3B)
  • Maryland Delegate Karen Simpson (D3A)
  • Maryland Delegate Lesley Lopez (D39) 

In recognition of their dedication, awards were presented to legislators, organizational volunteers, union leaders, and journalists who have played instrumental roles in advancing the progressive agenda. These individuals have been at the forefront of the movement, pushing for positive change and standing up for those who need it most. The legislators awarded with a Progressive Champions Award were Delegate David Moon, Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins, Council Member Tom Dernoga, Council Member Wala Blegay, Council Member Eric Olson, Council Member Jolene Ivey, Council Member Krystal Oriadha, and Council Member Edward Burroughs. 

Among some of the community leaders recognized that evening were Le Shaun Quander-Mosley, business owner and advocate for returning residents in Prince George’s County; Ricarra Jones, Political Director at 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East; and Travis B. Simon, Vice President of the International SEIU Lavender Caucus, Director of Political and Legislative Affairs for SEIU 500, Board Member of AFL-CIO’s Pride at Work, and passionate advocate for LGBTQIA+ people. 

 

Le Shaun Quander-Mosely receiving her award for Exceptional Leadership from Progressive Maryland Organizer, Patty Snee. 

Photo Credit: Bethany Steele.

Progressive Maryland also presented two awards for Excellence in Journalism to Lindsay Watts, Emmy-winning journalist and Senior Communications Director for Prince George’s County Council Media; and William J. Ford, current reporter for Maryland Matters and formerly with The Washington Informer. “These awards recognize and celebrate the exceptional contributions of individuals who have demonstrated unwavering dedication to the principles of journalism, the pursuit of truth, accuracy, accountability, and the vital role of a free press in our society,” said Christianne Marguerite, Director of Communications at Progressive Maryland.

But the success of the gala didn't end there. Thanks to the generosity of the attendees, and the incredible artists who donated their work to the event’s art auction, a substantial amount of money was raised to further the cause of building power for working families. This financial support will enable Progressive Maryland to continue its work, advocating for policies that promote economic justice, social equality, and a brighter future for all.

"Our Annual Gala was an incredible testament to the strength and unity of our movement," said Larry Stafford, Executive Director of Progressive Maryland. "We are immensely grateful to everyone who attended, donated, and played a part in making this event a tremendous success. By coming together and harnessing our collective power, we are paving the way for a more just and equitable society that will improve the lives of everyday working-class people."

 

​​

 The Progressive Maryland Team. Photo Credit: Bethany Steele.

 

Share

Prince George's County Council Stands Firm in Defense of Project Labor Agreements Amidst Concerns Over Phase 2 of P3 Project

Prince George's County Council Stands Firm in Defense of Project Labor Agreements Amidst Concerns Over Phase 2 of P3 Project

Prince George's County, Maryland, is at a pivotal juncture as concerns mount over the fate of Phase 2 of the P3 project. County Council Member Edward Burroughs, representing District 8, has voiced strong apprehensions regarding the direction the project is taking. Burroughs' statements highlight the County Executive's stance and its potential impact on the future of this significant endeavor.

"The dream of expediting school construction for our students in dilapidated buildings seems to have lost its way under County Executive Alsobrooks' leadership," Council Member Burroughs expressed, reflecting on the project's initial goals.  

The P3 project, initiated with the admirable goal of expediting school construction and addressing the dire state of many school buildings, appears to be at risk of losing sight of its original objectives under County Executive Angela Alsobrooks' leadership. Council Member Burroughs has expressed profound disappointment in the missed opportunities to uplift Prince George County residents, especially the local workforce and local minority businesses.

"When you have a billion-dollar project occurring in a two-year time period, you have a lot of opportunity to uplift Prince George County residents, in addition to getting the schools built. As county leaders, we must also figure out how to leverage those dollars to uplift Prince George County residents," Burroughs emphasized, lamenting the missed opportunities.

Burroughs emphasizes that a key concern is the lack of substantial mandatory hiring of Prince George County residents and the absence of safeguards against wage theft and exploitation of workers, issues that have surfaced during the first phase of the P3 project. He contends that the economic benefits of this billion-dollar project are not adequately reaching the black and brown residents of Prince George County.

In a recent interview, Burroughs drew parallels to the visionary approach of former Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, who leveraged his power to ensure that DC residents, especially minority populations, benefitted from large-scale economic development projects.

Burroughs is committed to ensuring that Phase 2 of the P3 project focuses on the well-being of Prince George County residents and prioritizes project labor agreements (PLAs) as a means to guarantee fair wages, worker protections, and the engagement of local businesses.

When asked about the apparent resistance to PLAs, Burroughs pointed out that County Executive Alsobrooks holds the key to making a positive change. He highlighted the importance of county executives negotiating with major companies to mandate the hiring of Prince George County residents, partner with labor unions to ensure worker protections, and address issues like wage theft and exploitation.

Burroughs underscored the need for transparency in the process, advocating for independent audits of all contractors and the public's right to access information about the project's impact on the community. He firmly believes that taxpayers' dollars should be reinvested in the local community rather than benefit out-of-town contractors.

"I will not be voting for a P3 project without a PLA attached to it. I've sat with too many workers who have been exploited to do that. This money is taxpayer money, and the question is, are we gonna recirculate that money back into our community to uplift our own residents?"

Council Member Burroughs expressed concerns that the County Executive's administration and the school superintendent may very well send down an MOU for them to sign that includes no Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) and then blame the Council if the schools are delayed or not built. He described this situation as a dangerous game of chicken, where the County Executive's office attempts to shift the responsibility to the Council.

In closing, Council Member Burroughs highlighted the importance of elected officials standing up for their constituents and urged his colleagues on the County Council to prioritize PLAs as a means to protect workers, uplift local businesses, and create a more equitable future for Prince George's County.

"We must base public policy on what's in the best interest of the people of the county. And Project Labor Agreements have the ability to literally pull people out of poverty and pull them into the middle class with health care and benefits and retirement and scholarships for further education."

The conversation took place during an interview with the Executive Director of Progressive Maryland, Larry Stafford Jr., on his  radio show, 'The Progress Report,' shedding light on the pressing concerns surrounding the Phase 2 of the P3 project and the pivotal role Project Labor Agreements play in it

Share