The union is pushing for a new contract that applies to all universities in the system, to bargain with the board of regents, instead of individual contracts with each campus. Photo by Zshekinah Collier/WYPR.

Workers rallied outside the University System of Maryland Board of Regents meeting on Friday morning aiming to bend the ear of leaders for better wages and work conditions. There were about 100 people, some of whom were university employees, who even marched into the meeting that was in progress to garner the attention of board members to no avail. The American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees were outraged that pay raises from a state surplus of nearly $2 billion won’t trickle down to university employees.

Standing on the steps of the Adele H. Stamp Student Union building, union leaders said they demand higher wages, safer work conditions and emergency leave. The union is also pushing for a new contract that applies to all universities in the system, to bargain with the board of regents, instead of individual contracts with each campus.

The goal is for the contract to be “equitable and put people first and their business second,” said Patrick Moran, president of AFSCME Council 3.

Maryland’s General Assembly voted last year to allow all University of Maryland institutions to have one collective bargaining agreement. Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed the bill but it was overridden by the state legislature.

Prior to the bill, contracts were negotiated between each bargaining unit and individual universities.

As the University System of Maryland Board of Regents meeting prepared to begin, Saul Walker, a multi-trades chief at the College Park campus led workers and organizers into the meeting.

Read more (and listen) at WYPR.