HB 1012 - Labor and Employment – Reinstatement of Employment – Employees at Baltimore–Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI–Thurgood Marshall Workers’ Right to Reinstatement Act)

Position: Support

Committee: House Economic Matters Committee

The Maryland Catholic Conference (“Conference”) represents the public policy interests of the three Roman Catholic (arch) dioceses serving Maryland: the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington.

House Bill 1012 requires certain employers at the Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport to reinstate certain laid-off employees under certain circumstances; requiring certain employers to provide certain laid-off employees with certain written notice of a layoff in a certain manner and at the time of the layoff; requiring certain employers to offer certain laid-off employees certain job positions.

Helping to create pathways back into employment will alleviate the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on vulnerable communities. Further, many who work in this industry do not have higher education degrees. The lack of higher education credentials makes it more difficult to transition to a different job or line of work. The hospitality, travel, and entertainment industries will take a while to recover and may never return to pre-COVlD-19 levels. That job scarcity underscores the importance of giving displaced workers the opportunity to get their jobs back. Businesses re-opening after the pandemic interruption should recall the career employees whose labor helped them build a successful enterprise in the first place.

The Conference supports efforts that increase the dignity of a person’s work as well as expand opportunities to care for themselves and their families during times of critical needs. House Bill 1012 recognizes the needs to protect and reinstate essential workers during these trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic. As stated by Pope Francis in his recent encyclical, Fratelli Tutti,The recent pandemic enabled us to recognize and appreciate once more all those around us who, in the midst of fear, responded by putting their lives on the line. We began to realize that our lives are interwoven with and sustained by ordinary people valiantly shaping the decisive events of our shared history: doctors, nurses, pharmacists, storekeepers and supermarket workers, cleaning personnel, caretakers, transport workers, men and women working to provide essential services and public safety, volunteers, priests and religious… They understood that no one is saved alone.” (No. 54)

The Conference appreciates your consideration and, for these reasons, respectfully requests a favorable report on House Bill 1012.