More than 1,000 state employees marched around the Statehouse tonight chanting for a 15 per cent pay raise instaed of the 3 to 6 per cent raises proposed by Gov. Marvin Mandel.
It was what has become an annual pilgrimage for members of the Maryland Classified Employees Association, whose 30,000 members, like most of the state's 57,000 employees, haven't had a pay raise since 1974.
Many of the workers, who had come by chartered bus and private vehicle from throughout the state, squeezed into the Statehouse before the regular Monday night meeting of the General Assembly, but they won little more than polite conferences with the legislators they managed to corner.
The workers filled the galleries of the House, where they were given polite applause, and the Senate, where they were ignored. Delegates who wanted to avoid talking to the workers were aided by House Majority Leader John S. Arnick, who in the guise of helping pages "clean up the House" said the doors leading to the main hall would not be opened at the end of the short session.
Some of the legislators sought out the workers, although few had encouraging words. Del. Frederick C. Rummage (D-Prince George's), told several they should have collective bargaining. Then he admitted that he expects "nothing" from a task force that is studying the idea.
Gov. Marvin Mandel, in his budget message of Jan. 19, proposed $31 million for pay raises for state employees, noting they have had no salary increase for two years.
Mandel said the raises would be scaled from 6 per cent at lower pay grades to three per cent at the top.