DLLR at your Door September 2008

A Message from Secretary Perez

Governments, whether they are federal, state or local, are big purchasers of goods and services and they should use their purchasing power to lift workers up and set an example for employers. Montgomery County recently took an important step toward lifting workers up by passing a prevailing wage law that requires construction contractors who are awarded county contracts to pay their workers the amount typically paid for similar work in the local labor market.

Montgomery County officials should be applauded for upholding the longstanding Maryland tradition of leadership in recognizing that an honest day's work deserves a decent day pay. Maryland has had a prevailing wage law for decades and last year Governor Martin O'Malley signed the first ever statewide living wage statute, requiring contractors that do business with the state to pay workers a decent, livable wage.

Governments are in the business of safeguarding their people, of ensuring decent services and of improving people's lives wherever possible. In Fiscal Year 2008, investigators at the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation recovered nearly $500,000 in wages owed to workers who had been underpaid under the prevailing wage law.

For the workers on behalf of whom those wages were recovered, that $500,000 represents the fairness and basic respect they deserve in return for the work they do. It also promises those employers who do right by their workers that they will not be underbid by employers who pay as little as they can get away with.

Living Wage Rate in Maryland Increases

Labor and Industry Commissioner Ron DeJuliis adjusted the Living Wage rate from $11.30 to $11.72 for the Tier 1 area, which includes Montgomery, Prince George’s, Howard, Anne Arundel and Baltimore Counties along with Baltimore City.  Tier 2, which includes all counties not included in the Tier 1, increased from $8.50 to $8.81.

The Living Wage rate is based on the percentage change in the annual average of the consumer price index for all urban consumers for the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area for the previous year. This increase applies to current State contracts subject to the Living Wage Law as well as future State contracts deemed covered by the Law.   

The Living Wage Law requires contractors and subcontractors to pay a Living Wage to employees performing work on certain State service contracts, in excess of $100,000 with certain exemptions. Failure to comply with the Living Wage Law will result in the assessment of penalty damages and payment of restitution to the appropriate employees.

For more information on Maryland’s Living Wage Law, click on Living Wage Law.

DISA and DLLR Reach Out to Future Employees for Federal Careers

DISA logoThe first in a series of special events to highlight federal job opportunities with the Defense Information Systems Agency is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Sheraton Baltimore Washington Airport Hotel in Linthicum, MD. 

U.S. citizens can learn about future employment and career opportunities with DISA as it prepares to move to Ft. Meade, MD by 2011 under the Base Realignment and Closure Act.DLLR logo

This event, along with others DISA and the Maryland Department of Labor, License and Regulation will host at different locations throughout Maryland, will focus on how attendees can build their federal résumés, how they can qualify for security clearances, and more.  Also, attendees will be able to learn about DISA's career opportunities and award-winning quality of life programs. 

For more information contact DISA’s Manpower, Personnel and Security Office, Civilian Personnel Division at (703) 607-6933 or to the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Communications Office at (410) 230-6071.

Second Round of Workforce One Maryland BRAC Project Awards Announced

DLLR Secretary Tom Perez and Assistant Secretary of Workforce Development, Andy MoserLieutenant Governor Anthony G. Brown announced the recipients of six Workforce ONE Maryland project grants at a press conference and was joined by Secretary Tom Perez and Workforce Development Assistant Secretary Andy Moser.

The Workforce ONE grants are funded as part of a $4 million grant to DLLR from the U.S. Department of Labor to assist Maryland’s planning and implementation of initiatives that address workforce challenges posed by BRAC. The military realignment is scheduled to be completed in September 2011 and will create as many as 60,000 new jobs in Maryland. It’s estimated that Marylanders will fill as many as seven out of 10 jobs created in the state because of BRAC. Awards include:

  • $93,634 to Baltimore City Community College to create a new Center for Construction Technologies;
  • $99,250 to Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind to establish a workforce development program for visually-impaired and blind veterans in BRAC-impact regions;
  • $100,000 to Lockheed Martin for a BRAC employee training and development program;
  • $100,000 to Monster Government Solutions, LLC to create a website portal for Maryland military families;
  • $100,000 to Towson University’s Department of Physics, Astronomy & Geosciences to design and implement an elementary engineering program in Harford County Public Schools; and
  • $100,000 to Associated Builders and Contractors to provide training to minority-owned businesses that will connect more Maryland businesses with BRAC opportunities.

DLLR Division of Financial Regulation Helps Maryland Stand Out

The Division of Financial Regulation is responsible for Maryland being singled out as a leader in consumer protection against the abusive lending practices of excessive interest charges on certain small dollar loans.

A new joint report by the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, and the National Consumer Law Center evaluates various state statutory maximum annual percentage rate (APR) of interest for four typical small dollar loan products. The four loan products evaluated in the report are:

  • Payday loans;
  • Auto title loans;
  • Six-month, $500 unsecured installment loans; and
  • One-year, $1,000 unsecured installment loans

States received a “passing” grade if the loan product’s APR was 36 percent or less or if they prohibited payday or auto title loans. Maryland, Arkansas, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia and the District of Columbia all received a “passing” grade in this study.

Click here to view the full report released by the Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, and the National Consumer Law Center.

DLLR Lends a Helping Hand to Texas Residents in the Wake of Hurricane Ike

DLLR is helping Texas residents by assisting with the influx of Unemployment Insurance benefit claims resulting from Hurricane Ike.

Texas is taking more than 10,000 claims a day, and as many as 300,000 calls a day are not getting through.  The Division of Unemployment Insurance is actively working with the Texas Workforce Commission to guarantee residents who qualify for benefits will be processed as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The Division of Unemployment Insurance has access to the Texas electronic wage files and can assist with regular UI claims or disaster [DUA] claims as appropriate.

The Division is able to devote as many as 50 people to help, and  members of the field staff have volunteered to work overtime for the next month, to help during the evening hours when the Texas offices will remain open.”

The Division of Unemployment Insurance will also dedicate a special line to accept transferred calls from Texas during regular hours.

Manufacturing Leaders Meet to Address Growing Manufacturing Workforce Issues

The Governor’s Workforce Investment Board’s Manufacturing Industry Initiative Steering Committee brought together a respected group of industry experts from the private sector and state partners to develop a set of recommendations to address current and future workforce shortages for Maryland’s manufacturing industry. 

Nearly 80% of the manufacturing industry reports a need for new workers, but the lingering misperceptions of the industry makes it hard to recruit young workers, according to a recent GWIB manufacturing industry report.  Shortages are even more critical for sectors that use advanced manufacturing processes and require a more highly skilled workforce. 

Recommendations from the manufacturing symposium include improving the image of the industry through a coordinated and multi-phased marketing campaign, and identifying, developing and providing technical and educational pathways to prepare students to be the workers of tomorrow and upgrade the skills of incumbent workers.

Foreclosure update:

In October, Secretary Tom Perez will take part in two foreclosure forums as part of a panel discussing how the state is responding to the rise of foreclosure events in the 21st and 39th Districts.

These Foreclosure Forums are free and open to the public.

Saturday, October 4, 2008
Host: Senator Jim Rosapepe and Delegates Barbara Frush, Ben Barnes and Joseline Pena-Melnyk
Time: 10:00am to 12:00pm
Locations: Our Savior Lutheran Church
             13611 Laurel Bowie Road (Route 197)
             Laurel, MD  20720
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Host: Sen. Nancy King, and Delegates Kirill Reznik, Charles Barkley and Saqib Ali. 
Time:  10:00am to 12:00pm
Location: Lake Marion Community Center
            8821 East Village Avenue
            Montgomery Village, MD 20886

State of Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation
500 N. Calvert Street / Baltimore, Maryland 21202