Baltimore municipal strike of 1974

Last updated
Baltimore municipal strike of 1974
DateJune 30, 1974 - July 14, 1974
Location
Goals wages
Methods Strikes, Protest, Demonstrations
Parties to the civil conflict
City of Baltimore
Lead figures
Jerome Wurf William Donald Schaefer
Number
1,350 protesters
100+ Baltimore police supervisors
Arrests, etc
Deaths:
Injuries:
Arrests: 5+
Deaths:
Injuries:

The 1974 Baltimore municipal strike was a strike action undertaken by different groups of municipal workers. It was initiated by waste collectors seeking higher wages and better conditions. They were joined by sewer workers, zookeepers, prison guards, highway workers, recreation & parks workers, animal control workers, abandoned vehicles workers, and eventually by police officers. Trash piled up during the strike, and, especially with diminished police enforcement, many trash piles were set on fire. City jails were also a major site for unrest.

Contents

The Baltimore strike was prominent within a wave of public sector strikes across the United States. [1] [2] All of the striking workers were members of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), a relatively radical and expanding national union. AFSCME President Jerry Wurf attained national notoriety for allegedly urging workers to "let Baltimore burn" if their demands were not met. [3] [4]

Background

In the 1960s, a combination of civil rights struggles, white flight, and the loss of manufacturing jobs led Baltimore's African American population to gain an increasing share of the city's public sector jobs. However, many of these jobs did not pay a living wage, and the workers were not allowed to unionize until after the turbulent events of spring 1968 (see Memphis Sanitation Strike and Baltimore riot of 1968). [5]

The city itself, losing many tax-paying residents to the suburbs, was already suffering from budget shortfalls and beginning to shift toward privatization of services. The 1971 election of Mayor William Donald Schaefer consolidated this trend and signaled the erosion of what small gains in black control had already been won. [5]

The 1960s and early 1970s saw radicalization among public sector workers across the United States. In many cities, following a pattern similar to Baltimore's, these workers became politicized and began to demand collective bargaining rights. Many joined AFSCME, under the new leadership of Jerome Wurf. [6]

Blue-collar city employees were paid about $3.00 an hour, with the prospect of a 20 cent raise in the 1975 budget. Workers also complained about a strict policy on absences, according to which a worker could be fired after missing eight days. [7] 1974 had already seen a strike from sanitation workers in nearby Baltimore County. [8] [9] And a February teachers' strike had made striking seem like a real possibility. [10] Tension rose when the city offered a new contract in June 1974.

A snowballing strike

On Sunday, June 30, 700 workers voted to accept the city's planned raise at a union meeting. On Monday, July 1, 1974, about 1000 sanitation workers, unsatisfied with the contract, walked off their jobs. The strikers demanded raises of 50 cents instead of 20 cents (from $3.00 an hour to $3.50 an hour), and a new policy on absences. [7] They were soon joined by some sewer workers and by 200 highway workers. [11] On July 3, highway workers voted unanimously to join the strike, bringing their contribution to 600 and the total number of striking workers to nearly 2,500. [12]

On July 9 the strikers were joined by 350 guards from the Baltimore City Jail, who walked off their jobs at 7AM, leaving control to 25 high-ranking officers. [13] At this point the strikers numbered 3,000. [14]

Strike activities

Striking workers set up picket lines at city dumps and sewer yards. [12] As more workers joined the strike picket lines were established at other workplaces, including the city jail and the zoo. Not all work during the strike was completely stopped. Striking zookeepers continued to feed their animals, even as they refused to clean up the resulting fecal matter. [15] Slogans included "No cash, no trash". [11] Strikers held signs reading "I Am Somebody" and "I Am a Man," reminiscent of the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike. [16] At the War Memorial Plaza demonstration, the crowd chanted "They say landfill, we say no: City Hall's where garbage goes." [15]

Police strike

Baltimore police also disputed the new contract, and, encouraged by the other striking workers, they began "job actions" on July 7. These included the writing of detailed reports of miscellaneous objects on the street, as well as an unusually high number of traffic stops. [14]

On July 11, Police Local 1195 (also affiliated with AFSCME) voted to strike, and most officers on the night shift walked off. [17] The walkout added urgency to the strike and the magnified national attention directed towards it.

Prison disturbances

After the prison guards went on strike, inmates were left with little supervision. They were confined to their cells for long stretches of time and all criminal trials were postponed. A council of 16 inmates argued that their right to due process was being violated. They accused the striking guards of wishing to provoke mayhem (to demonstrate the chaos that would occur in their absence). Finally, the council asked for certain supervisors to be kept away from prisoners, and demanded self-governance for inmates. [18]

On July 13, three or four replacement supervisors were taken hostage in a roomful of juvenile inmates demanding their freedom. [19] Nonstriking policeman intervened with dogs and nightsticks, apparently rejecting an offer of assistance from the striking guards. [20] Police said that adult inmates helped end the uprising. Two guards and two inmates were injured. [19] (When the guards ended their strike, they were met with another prison uprising, which was suppressed with tear gas and riot gear.) [21]

Other incidents

Nine sanitation workers were arrested and charged with disorderly conduct on July 7 when they stood in the way of a bulldozer sent to move trash. [22]

On July 10, 60 supporters of the strike held a demonstration in War Memorial Plaza outside of city hall. After several people had spoken to the group, demonstrators began to disperse trash from bags they had brought. They soon met with twelve club-wielding police officers. Eleven demonstrators and Baltimore Sun photographer Irving H. Phillips, Jr., were arrested on littering charges. [23]

Sixteen jail guards and a union organizer were arrested (also on July 10) for preventing supervisors from entering the jail. [24]

There were increased reports of fires during the strike, especially during the last few days when the police were also on strike. [17] Before the police strike, reports of trash fires were somewhat localized to Cherry Hill. [22] Arson was the major reported crime throughout, with a wave of looting directly after the police walkout. [25] These troops were outfitted with riot weapons but wore soft hats instead of helmets. [26] [27]

Government response

Mayor Schaefer

Mayor Schaefer immediately threatened to fire all of the striking workers and hire new others, saying "there's just no more money. No way." [28] He promised to break the strike quickly and announced the opening of dumps to the public. [12]

After about a week, Schaefer mobilized 350 of the city's white-collar workers as strikebreakers to pick up trash. These workers ("Schaefer's Raiders" [27] ) were paid time-and-half for overtime, based on their typically higher salaries. They used small dumping areas that were changed daily so as to avoid the strikers. [23]

Circuit Court

Judicial proceedings surrounding the strike took place mostly in the Mitchell Courthouse downtown. The Court dealt with three AFSCME leaders: Ray Clarke, president of Local 44; Ernest Crofoot, director of the regional Council 67; and P.J. Ciampa, a field director from the (inter)national union who had organized (and been maced) during the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Strike. [29]

On the night of Tuesday, July 2, Circuit Judge James W. Murphy declared the strike illegal and issued an injunction against the garbage collectors. [11] On Saturday July 6, Murphy fined Local 44 $15,000 for every day the strike continued after Monday July 8. [30] On Tuesday the 9th he issued another injunction against other departments newly on strike. [14]

On July 10, Judge Murphy announced that he was prepared to enforce the $15,000 immediately and each following afternoon. Murphy was then informed that Local 44 had only $6000, which he then confiscated. [23]

On Friday, July 12, Murphy froze the union's assets (around $5000) and threatened to increase the fines against the union and its leaders unless the workers returned to their jobs. He also threatened to jail the three union leaders if the strike did not end, giving Monday, July 15 as the deadline. [31] [32]

Union involvement

The municipal strike started out as a wildcat action, in protest of a contract that the union had just accepted. However, unions soon claimed credit and responsibility, and it was ultimately union negotiators who ended the strike.

AFSCME

AFSCME Local 44 initially asked the strikers to return to work. [28] By the morning of Tuesday, July 2, AFSCME leadership on all levels had endorsed the strike. [33]

Many workers were upset that the union had backed the city's contract, and hung an effigy of Local 44's president, Raymond H. Clark. [16] [34]

On July 5, President Wurf, Secretary-Treasurer Bill Lucy, and two other officials from the union were arrested for blocking cars from entering landfills. [35]

Clark and union area director Ernest Crofoot both subsequently suggested to the city and to the media that the strike might turn violent, and that the union would be unable to control this violence. [22]

Police involvement increased the stakes for AFSCME, which had the potential to unionize police locals around the country. [36]

AFL–CIO

AFSCME is part of the AFL–CIO, which has its own regional representatives in Baltimore. The regional AFL–CIO established a welfare fund to help striking workers who missed paychecks. [19]

CMEA

The Classified Municipal Employees Association (CMEA), a union for white-collar city workers in Baltimore, did not back the strike; indeed, its members had been paid overtime to act as strikebreakers. CMEA leadership downplayed their union's responsibility, stating that individuals had made their own decisions to pick up trash during the strike.

Resolution

Negotiations were fruitless for most of the strike. [14] [15] [34] The police walkout quickly spurred long negotiations, with both locals, at the Lord Baltimore Hotel. [26] These negotiations were tightly controlled by AFSCME leadership from outside Baltimore. [36] According to Baltimore Sun reporter Tom Horton, they were also confusing, frustrating, and substantially fueled by alcohol. [37]

By July 14, negotiators had apparently come slightly closer, with the city offering 25 cents instead of 20 and the union asking for 40 cents instead of 50. [27] Some expressed fears that the police union would capitulate too quickly to the city's demands. [38] In fact, Local 44 came to an agreement first, on July 15. The total negotiating time had been 43 hours. [39] The city agreed to an incremental raise of 70 cents per hour over the next two years, starting with an immediate raise of 25 cents per hour. The city also agreed to negotiate a new system for reckoning absences. [40] According to these terms, annual salary for a starting full-time waste collector would be about $7,800. The city also promised full medical coverage and no reprisals for the strikers. [41] Some of the strikers returned to work late on that day. [39]

None of the union leaders were jailed. [39] The charges against Wurf and Lucy were dropped in November. [42]

Aftermath

Judge Murphy fined the union $90,000, to be paid out of workers' checks (a cost of approximately $9 per worker). Mayor Schaefer promised that "taxpayers are not going to pay for one red cent for this year's settlement," suggesting that 300 public sector workers would be laid off to accommodate the raise. [39] [41]

60–70 prison guards walked off their jobs on July 18 in reaction to the suspension of 23 guards for striking. The suspension decision was reversed that night. [43]

Members of the CMEA rejected a merger with AFSCME in August, expressing dissatisfaction with the strike. [44]

Governor Marvin Mandel, in the midst of a campaign for re-election, took some flak from labor leaders for his role in the strike (backing Schaefer and Pomerleau). [45] [46]

The Baltimore police force was understaffed for at least the rest of the year and reported substantial increases in crime. [47]

AFSCME was the major negotiator for municipal workers when their contracts were renegotiated in 1976. [48] It negotiated a 4% raise for municipal workers; the city also agreed to impose mandatory fees for non-union workers who benefited from the negotiations. This bargain was not popular with the workers themselves, many of whom shouted and screamed at president Ray Clarke after his announcement. [49]

See also

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References

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  2. "US flooded by great wave of strikes". Montreal Gazette. Associated Press. 17 July 1974. p. 13. Retrieved 5 August 2012. The labor disputes constituted the biggest wave of strikes since the days after Second World War when millions of veterans moved back into the labor market.
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  7. 1 2 "Baltimore Employes to Push Strike". Lewiston Daily Sun. Associated Press. 8 July 1974. Retrieved 5 August 2012. "Other striking workers are asking for a 50 cent increase in the hourly wage rate to $3.50. The city is offering a 20 cents an hour hike to $3.20. The strikers also seek an end to a controversial system to reduce unauthorized job absences.
  8. "County garbage collectors vote to stop work". Baltimore Sun. 28 February 1974. p. C20. ProQuest   539056352. Claiming that they are losing money during the energy crisis, Baltimore county's residential garbage collectors voted last night to shut down operations, beginning today.
  9. Kimelman, Donald (1 March 1974). "County trash collectors settle after 1-day strike". Baltimore Sun. pp. A1, A10. ProQuest   538980110. Ending a one-day shutdown, Baltimore county's independent garbage collectors voted unanimously last night to go back to work this morning.
  10. Richards, Bill (22 February 1974). "Teachers Strike Tense in Baltimore". Washington Post. ProQuest   146199245. Ernest Crofoot, director of the municipal employees union, which includes sanitation workers, jail guards and non-professional hospital and school workers, said that if the offer was not acceptable the members of his union may also walk off their jobs.
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  13. Fred Barbash; Charles A. Krause (9 July 1974). "Jail employes join strike in Baltimore". St. Petersberg Times. Washington Post Service. p. 4–A. Retrieved 5 August 2012. The latest group to join the striker were 350 guards at the city jail. They abandoned their posts at 7 a.m. Monday, leaving control of 1,500 inmates at the jail to about 25 guards who are sergeants and higher-ranking officers.
  14. 1 2 3 4 "A Second Injunction Is Issued a As Baltimore Strikes Continue". New York Times. 10 July 1974. p. 15. ProQuest   120103361.
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  16. 1 2 Fred Barbash; Charles A. Krause (10 July 1974). "Baltimore Strike Is Symbolic of Strong Union Growth". Washington Post. pp. C1, C3. ProQuest   146150707.
  17. 1 2 Watson, Douglas (12 July 1974). "Baltimore Police Walk Off Job". Washington Post. pp. A1, A3. ProQuest   146143255. Some police officers from all nine of the city's districts walked off their jobs last night in response to their union's call for a citywide strike. By early this morning there had been 300 to 400 fires in trash bins and abandoned buildings throughout the city and scattered looting of shops and stores including liquor, jewelry and furniture stores, carry-outs and laundries. Most of the looting was confined to high-crime, poor areas on the fringes of downtown and on the city's west side.
  18. Cramer, Richard Ben (10 July 1974). "Strike talks lapse as city obtains new injunction". Baltimore Sun. ProQuest   538904469. Security in the jail was loosened up a bit yesterday, with prisoners who had been in their cells for 38 hours straight receiving recreation and exercise periods, more or less without supervision.
  19. 1 2 3 Staff Writers (14 July 1974). "Baltimore Police Ruled in Contempt". Washington Post. pp. A1, B1. ProQuest   146166864. The juveniles, armed with makeshift weapons, held the four nonstriking guards prisoner for less than an hour. One of the hostages, Sgt. William Britton, said the young prisoners who seized the four guards said they wanted their freedom.
  20. "Baltimore Jail Stormed". New York Times. Associated Press. 14 July 1974. ProQuest   120096321. City jail inmates took three hostages tonight while striking guards picketed outside, but the police stormed into the building and returned the inmates to their cells. No shots were fired and no serious injuries were reported.
  21. Charles A. Krause; Fred Barbash (14 July 1974). "Head of Police in Baltimore Continues Reprisal Campaign". Washington Post. pp. B7. ProQuest   146158759. In another strike-related incident, 150 inmates at the Baltimore city jail refused to enter their cells Wednesday night in protest against the return of jail guards who had left their post last week to join the city's general strike. The inmates wielded mops and brooms but were finally subdued when 40 guards used tear gas and riot equipment to restore order.
  22. 1 2 3 Cramer, Richard Ben (8 July 1974). "City union defies Mayor, fines threat". Baltimore Sun. pp. A1, A10. ProQuest   539001623. [Crofoot] added that the union is doing its best to restrain its members from illegal or violent acts but said: 'It's getting pretty close to the point where we're just going to have to wash our hands of the whole thing. Raymond Clarke, the president of Local 44 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees, seconded the predictions of trouble. 'Our position is that we can't prevent violence, he said. I've been a sanitation worker for 35 years, and I know how the men will react. They're not going to let these people come in and take over their jobs. I'm sure there's going to be some violence."
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  24. "Baltimore police fight protestors". Free Lance-Star. Associated Press. 11 July 1974. p. 3. Retrieved 6 August 2012. Police said sixteen jail gaurds [sic] and one union representative walking a picket line outside the city jail were arrested this morning for blocking supervisory personnel entering the driveway. All 17 were charged with obstruction of free passage.
  25. Staff Writers (13 July 1974). "State Police Ordered to Baltimore". Washington Post. pp. A1, A12. ProQuest   146141671. Earlier today Fire Chief Thomas S. Burke said that fire alarms increased '300 per cent' in recent days, adding up to 525 fire alarms Thursday.
  26. 1 2 Cramer, Richard Ben (13 July 1974). "Situation seems calm". Baltimore Sun. pp. A1, A8. ProQuest   538944836. The meeting between the city and high federation officials seemed to confirm earlier reports from union sources that contract talks for the laborers and police are being lumped together. The union sources said they hope to use the pressure generated by the police strike to aid the 3,000 striking sewer, sanitation, highway and parks workers.
  27. 1 2 3 Cramer, Richard Ben (14 July 1974). "Police union, Rapanotti fined $35,000 a day". Baltimore Sun. pp. A1, A3. ProQuest   538976784.
  28. 1 2 "Mayor warns strikers: Trash, sewer workers face loss of jobs". Baltimore Sun. 2 July 1974. pp. A1, A8. ProQuest   538951534. Mayor Schaefer raised the specter of mass firings in the Sanitation Division yesterday as about 700 garbage workers and a sprinkling of sewer workers walked off their jobs in a wildcat strike.
  29. Honey, Michael K. (2007). "Baptism by Fire" . Going down Jericho Road the Memphis strike, Martin Luther King's last campaign (1 ed.). New York: Norton. pp.  203–204. ISBN   978-0-393-04339-6. Ciampa describes what happened next: 'The mace hits me in the face, and I start heading for the curb and I stumble, and grovel, and then I feel awful. I feel this stuff all over me. You can't breathe, you can't see...
  30. Cramer, Richard Ben (7 July 1974). "Local found in contempt: Judge refuses to cite 3 union leaders". Baltimore Sun. pp. A1, A13. ProQuest   538929031. A Circuit Court judge ruled yesterday that the union representing 2,500 striking city laborers is in contempt of a Tuesday injunction against the strike, and fined the union $15,000 a day beginning tomorrow at 5 P.M.
  31. Erlandson, Robert A. (13 July 1974). "Police, trash talks resume with Mayor: Union chiefs face jail". Baltimore Sun. pp. A1, A9. ProQuest   538944751. The three leaders of Baltimore's striking garbage collectors and other city employees have until 10 A.M. Monday to call off the 12-day-old strike or go to jail.
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  33. Schatzman, Dennis (6 July 1974). "Strikers may 'go for broke' today: Police also issue warning". Baltimore Afro-American. pp. A-1, A-2. Retrieved 5 August 2012. Bending under pressure from the irate workers, mostly black, the union, from the local, state and international level, sanctioned a full scale strike Tuesday morning.
  34. 1 2 Taylor, Stuart S. (5 July 1974). "Mayor sees no quick end to strike". Baltimore Sun. p. A1. ProQuest   539005620. The strike started despite the union leaders initial support of the city's 6 per cent raise offer. One group of sanitation workers complaining of a 'sell out' Monday hung in effigy Raymond H. Clark, president of Local 44, which represents 11,000 city blue-collar workers. Mr. Crofoot was urging the members to return to work as recently as Tuesday.
  35. Cramer, Richard Ben (6 July 1974). "Court action delayed as trash grows". Baltimore Sun. p. A1. ProQuest   538935277. Charged with failure to obey a policeman's lawful orders were Jerry Wurf, the international president of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFL–CIO); William Lucy, the secretary-treasurer; Peter Morolis, the AFL–CIO's local political director, and Frank Hutchins, a staff representative. A day's grace. All were released from the eastern district police station on their own recognizance.
  36. 1 2 Richard Ben Cramer; Tom Horton (15 July 1974). "Analysis: Union sources expect pay increase in city". Baltimore Sun. pp. A1, A8. ProQuest   538958921. So pervasive is the international's control of the talks, in fact, that Thomas A. Rapannotti, the leader of Maryland's Police Council 27, was suspended from his union post during the early stages of the talks because he negotiated with city officials one afternoon without an international representative at his elbow. [...] The national union is currently the fastest-growing labor organization in the country, adding about 1,000 to its 700,000 national membership each week. Police, largely unorganized throughout the country, could be a major area for future expansion, but only if the Baltimore strike is a success.
  37. Horton, Tom (16 July 1974). "A few remarks about bargaining, containing some on heroes, camp followers". Baltimore Sun. p. A10. ProQuest   538932734. The big surge came Sunday at 11 P.M. when a high city official told reporters, 'We'll have it wrapped up in an hour.' About 1 A.M. yesterday, the same official returned and repeated his message, but this time his words slurred and his breath was in the vicinity of 80 proof. At 2 A.M. he was last seen outside the hotel stumbling slowly across the deserted intersection of Charles and Baltimore streets.
  38. Franklin, Ben A. (15 July 1974). "Striking Baltimore Police Told to Work or Lose Jobs". New York Times. pp. 1, 12. ProQuest   120103725. The police local has been regarded by leaders of other unions as the most likely to reach what they have called a 'premature settlement' with the city.
  39. 1 2 3 4 Franklin, Ben A. (16 July 1974). "BALTIMORE ENDS ITS 15-DAY STRIKE: Municipal Pact Exceeds 6%—Police Still Seek Amnesty". New York Times. pp. 1, 22. ProQuest   119962186.
  40. "The week that was..." Baltimore Afro-American. 20 July 1974. Retrieved 5 August 2012. When the strike was settled on Monday, the city did indeed retreat from its former adamant position of no money and offered instead a two-year package, which put together an increase providing a minimum of 70 cents an hour for workers whose pay ranges from $3.03 to $3.50 an hour. This means that all employees represented by Local 44 will receive an immediate 25 cents hourly increase. In January and March, 1975, there will be two other 5-cent boosts and a 35 cent increase in July, 1975.
  41. 1 2 Barbash, Fred (16 July 1974). "Baltimore Work Strike Ends". Washington Post. ProQuest   146160431.
  42. Litlin, David Michael (21 November 1974). "Trash-strike charges dropped". Baltimore Sun. pp. C1, C2. ProQuest   538935277. Charges of obstructing passage into a landfill site during last summer's garbage strike were dismissed yesterday for four city employee's union officials after the state's attorney's office declined to prosecute. The case against the officials, including Jerry Wurf, international president of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFL–CIO) has been postponed half-a-dozen ties since their arrest because of the failure to appear for trial. An Eastern District policeman who worked on the case took the unusual step of going on record in District Court against the prosecutor's decision, saying it appeared someone had put pressure on the state attorney's office to drop the charges.
  43. "Legal Action Planned on Police Union". Observer-Reporter. 18 July 1974. p. D3. Retrieved 5 August 2012.
  44. "CMEA-AFSCME split tied to July labor strike". Baltimore Sun. 17 August 1974. p. B2. ProQuest   535518736. "Members of the Classified Municipal Employees Association, which represents about 5,000 white collar workers on the city payroll, voted by a 6-to-1 margin to reject the merger with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Although AFSCME officials were silent on the subject yesterday, members of the Classified Municipal Employees Association said the vote clearly rejected AFSCME's strike tactics.
  45. Barbieri, Jr., Anthony (28 September 1974). "Labor votes to reject Mandel". Baltimore Sun. pp. B1, B2. Retrieved 6 August 2012. The political arm of the state AFL–CIO, still angry of the handling of Baltimore's police strike, refused again yesterday to endorse the re-election effort of Governor Mandel. However, as in the primary election—when labor also denied the Governor its endorsement—a half dozen or so key unions are expected to back Mr. Mandel individually.
  46. Walsh, Edward (2 Aug 1974). "Mandel Scores Union Chief's Strike Role". Washington Post. pp. A22. ProQuest   146153280. Facing a small revolt among some labor leaders in Maryland, Gov. Marvin Mandel accused a national union leader of 'irresponsible' interference in a police strike in Baltimore and said he would forego the union's support in this year's election rather than give into its demands.
  47. Roeder, Edward (18 December 1974). "Figures are kept secret: Discipline leaves police short-handed". Baltimore Sun. pp. A1, A12. Retrieved 8 August 2012. Baltimore's already-rising crime rate increased dramatically in the months after hundreds of police officers resigned or were fired following last July's police strike. Since the strike, the Police Department's patrol units have been serioulsy understaffed. Many positions have gone underfilled or have been filled by rookies and administrative personnel not experienced in patrol work.
  48. Kimelman, Donald (29 April 1976). "AFSCME, city agree to arbitrate wages". Baltimore Sun. ProQuest   538566599. Claiming that the Mayor is trying to force a strike, the city's largest employees union yesterday broke off contract negotiations and called for independent arbitration of its wage package for the coming fiscal year.
  49. Kimelman, Donald (8 July 1976). "Union ratifies city pact: AFSCME gets 4% raise, agency shop". Baltimore Sun. p. A1. ProQuest   538444803. Over the shouts and catcalls of hundreds of disgruntled members, the biggest municipal employees union last night ratified a new two-year contract with the city of Baltimore. For most of 10,000 city workers represented by Local 44 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFL–CIO), the contract means raises of a little more than 4 per cent each year. In addition, Mayor Schaefer agreed to make seniority the principal criterion governing layoffs and he agreed to enforce a controversial law that requires non-union employees who receive the benefits of union bargaining to pay a 'service fee' to the appropriate union.