Holding the Line for 40K in the Old Line State

When the 2008-2009 school year began, for the first time all of Maryland's 24 school districts started new fully certified teachers at a salary of $40,000 or more.

The victory followed MSEA’s statewide compensation campaign to secure a competitive salary for all represented employees, including a $40,000 starting salary for teachers and a living wage for education support professionals.

As early as 2005, only eight districts offered starting salaries of $40,000 or more, and MSEA was determined to hit the 100 percent mark by the start of the 2008-2009 school year.

MSEA’s successful campaign was driven by our member organization, statewide and regional bargaining coordination, advance preparation for local negotiations, and intensive training of local bargaining teams on everything from the "nuts and bolts" to advanced topics.

With MSEA assistance, locals prepared for bargaining 18 months in advance. During this time, affiliates surveyed members, collected data, developed concepts and priorities, and networked with other school district unions.

"You can't go to the table expecting to win better compensation language if you start all this just a month ahead of time," said MSEA bargaining coordinator Herman Whitter.

The hard work and coordination paid off, and MSEA praised the "combined effort of our leaders, members, and staff" to reach the $40,000 objective.

The National Education Association applauded MSEA and our members for our success. "MSEA is a great example of what our affiliates are doing all across this country:  Engaging members in an effort to improve the learning and working conditions in schools and the living conditions for education professionals outside of school," said NEA Director of Collective Bargaining and Member Advocacy Bill Raabe.

"NEA affiliates understand the importance of their members working together to improve the quality of education through collective action.  They also know that it's  right, and professional, for school employees to unite to win professional level salaries for all school employees.  Our members go to school every day with the intent of making a positive impact on the lives of the students they serve, for this they deserve professional pay."