Maryland legal aid employees at the forefront, after recent bargain agreement

MARYLAND – A new collective bargaining agreement will provide legal employees with better resources as a vote passed the measure at a rate of 92%.

With this passing vote, Maryland workers are now at the forefront. Getting better resources including better pay and health plans.

“How best can we meet the needs of our staff?” Vicki Schultz, Executive Director of Maryland Legal Aid asks. Executive Director Vicki Schultz of Maryland Legal Aid asked that question before the collective bargaining agreement for 2023 was agreed upon.

With this new agreement in place, legal workers will have better benefits. “We improved wages, we help expand parental leave, we are contributing to retirement from the minute they walk in the door, we want to make sure they are set up for their lives, if they want to stay with us, we want to make sure they’re well taken care of,” says Schultz.

Bill Christopher with the Dorchester Chamber of commerce says this was necessary given the way non for profits work. “They’re a very different world to operate in, in terms of being a non-for-profit. which means they don’t have as much money or income to actually be able to pay the benefits and types of things,” says Bill Chambers, the President of the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce.

Maryland Legal Aid says this agreement is necessary for the longevity of the business. “Understanding our lawyers are essentially publicly funded public interest lawyers, we’re a grant-funded organization but we knew it was critical to be able in a tight labor market we wanted to make sure that we could attract and maintain our valued employees,” says Schultz.

On the other side of that, it’s important that legal employees get paid their worth to help give back to the community. “Clients that we represent who are living in poverty, particularly need that kind of support, they need good legal advocates by their side so that they can be heard,” said Schultz.

This is a one-year agreement, however, with the new government administration and upcoming legislative session, more funding could be granted in order to keep this going. For more information about the Collective Bargaining Agreement, click here.

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