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Concerned Healthcare Workers Reveal Risky Financial Scheme, $180 Million Debt at the University of Maryland Medical System

Robert Chrencik Executed Financial Scheme While CFO and it Continued after He Became CEO; Union Says Resources Should Be Used to Expand Access to Quality Patient Care, Not for Financial Bets 

The University of Maryland Medical System, which receives 58 percent of its revenues from public funding, has a more than $180 million debt due to a complex financial scheme that Robert Chrencik executed when he was CFO, and which continued after he became CEO of the statewide system in 2008, according to a new corporation information campaign by the state’s largest healthcare workers union, 1199SEIU United HealthCare Workers East.

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A 95th Birthday Tribute To Madiba Nelson Mandela from 1199SEIU in Baltimore

Photo Credit: (Festival Karsh Ottawa, Creative Commons)The nearly 10,000 members of the Maryland/DC region of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East are honored to wish Nelson Mandela a most happy 95th birthday.  In the heat of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa, 1199 stood with Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress, and we are proud to stand for him and salute him today and wish him continued recovery.

The labor movement, here in the United States and in South Africa, was an integral part of the victory in South Africa, over a genocidal, racist system of repression where nearly half of all Black children died before the age of five. In the 1970s, there was increased labor militancy in South Africa in places like Durban, where 30,000 brick, tile, transport, industrial and municipal workers went on strike and demonstrated their ability to disrupt the economy that kept the apartheid regime in power. Those strikes inspired other strikes, then the powerful student movement and Soweto uprising—which was pivotal in building a mass movement inside the country and drawing international attention to and support of the anti-apartheid struggle.

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Activists Drop Highway Banner to Support Raising Maryland’s Minimum Wage 

On July 10th members of grassroots social justice organization Communities United unfurled a large banner above I-83 that read, “Raise Maryland’s Minimum Wage.” Communities United is part of the Raise Maryland coalition, which is working to pass statewide legislation to raise the minimum wage.

The banner drop, which lasted for 30 minutes at the start of rush hour,  coincided with the release of a report by the Economic Policy Institute –an independent, nonprofit think tank- that shows that it is impossible for families living on minimum-wage jobs to make ends meet.

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Maryland Healthcare Workers to Receive Training to Fill ACA Workforce Needs

Linda Bock, a registered nurse, lobbied for additional state funding for training and other priorities.Implementation of the Affordable Care Act Requires More Staff Skilled in Medical Records, Medical Coding, Geriatric Care and Advanced Nursing

Under a new state grant, healthcare workers in Maryland will be trained to fill new jobs that are anticipated as the landmark Affordable Care Act is implemented.
The Maryland/DC 1199SEIU Training and Upgrading Fund, a labor-management partnership between Maryland’s healthcare workers union and participating employers, will receive $309,000 in state funds to train union members to meet future workforce needs.  Union and training fund staff worked with Maryland’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Departments to identify anticipated workforce shortages as a result of the Affordable Care Act’s implementation.

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New Report Urges MD General Assembly to Raise the State’s Minimum Wage

A report released by Raise Maryland shows that the Maryland General Assembly has heavily subsidized already prosperous businesses, while low-wage worker are left to fall even farther behind.

The business lobby was awarded over $30 million in subsidies, but a bill (S.B. 683) that would have raised Maryland’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $10 per hour by 2015, then index it to inflation, was killed in committee.

In order to further preserve the strength of Maryland’s economic recovery, and to secure the promise of opportunity and mobility for all of the state’s workers, the report concludes that the legislature should not hesitate for another year before raising and indexing the minimum wage. Click here to read the full report.