Words cannot adequately express the outrage and sense of betrayal I and thousands of other Maryland state employees feel.
State of Maryland classified employees will receive no cost of living adjustment this year. Nor will they receive the step increase every employee was guaranteed upon accepting employment with the State of Maryland. The state has also, with little warning, revoked a biweekly $5 health benefit that all employees received, as well as increased the percentage of health benefits that employees have to pay.
Finally, and perhaps most offensive, the Maryland employee work week is being extended by executive order from the 35 1/2 hours workers were hired at to 40 hours, without additional compensation. This reduces each employee's salary about $1 an hour and means that hourly salaries have not increased in four years.
The governor's justification for these measures is to improve productivity. Reducing salaries, lengthening the work week and in general decreasing employee morale are hardly effective ways to increase productivity. They are more likely to incite passive rebellion in the form of longer and more frequent unscheduled breaks and a general slow down in pace.
Altogether, the Maryland estimates it will cut over $100 million from the state budget at the expense of its employees.
Classified employees on the average make about 15 to 20 percent less than private-sector employees. If we had difficulty making ends meet before, the next year will prove excruciating. We understand the need for belt tightening during the budget crisis, but we do not understand why we have to bear the brunt of it.
Gov. William Donald Schaefer will receive a $35,000 raise; the raise itself is twice my salary. Members of his cabinet will also receive a raise this year. This is not only unfair, it is also callous considering the kind of sacrifices that we lower-echelon employees are being forced to endure.
G. R. HALL New Carrollton