City Workers Launch Statewide Organizing Campaign – Fight for Workers Bill of Rights & Host Statewide Summit
Coming in the midst of a powerful new organizing campaign with city workers in Greensboro, where several hundred workers have expressed interest in joining the union and a strong Organizing Committee has been built over the last few months, workers from cities across the state – including Charlotte, Greenville, Raleigh and Durham – gathered in Greensboro for a Statewide Municipal Summit on November 5.
At the summit, workers were able to share about conditions and struggles in their various cities and learn from each other’s campaigns. In every city we organize, we are able to make advances in different areas, for instance:
–Charlotte -historic new pay scale that recognizes years of service.
– Greensboro – workers won 6 weeks paid leave for mothers, fathers and same sex couples for new children in their family
– Raleigh – city workers are covered by Civil Service Protections so have more rights to their and jobs makes harder to be fired.
– Durham – won wage increases by uniting with community against too much funding for police, including $71 million for new police HQ.
Building the statewide movement of city workers helps us to share these lessons and bring victories/standards from one city to ALL cities! We must see our fights as both with City Hall, but also the State Government!
This past September marked the 10 year
anniversary of the Raleigh Sanitation workers strike that rocked the state, resulting in not only the Mayor Charles Meeker riding on the back of a solid waste truck, but also recognition of the union payroll deduction, meet-n-confer system with Mayor, hiring all temporary workers as permanent and a back-pay settlement for stolen wages. Many of the lessons of this strike continue to be discussed and used in our current organizing campaigns, including how to build mass community support to advance the fight for collective bargaining and workers power.
Meanwhile, the Charlotte chapter continues to grow as workers in the light rail “LYNX” department have joined the union in large numbers, showing the expanding base of power for our union in the city.
In Greensboro, city workers have been meeting with Mayor Pro-Tempore Yvonne Johnson about several of their main concerns, including that solid waste worker don’t have the time to get a lunch break while working their 10-hour shifts. Last year, one worker on a long shift without a lunch break, passed out from a health issues, and crashed into a childcare center. Since meeting, the city manager is now reporting he will send a memo out to the entire workforce, reinforcing their right to breaks.
Workers across the state are continuing to organize for basic standards – a Municipal Workers Bill of Rights- even in small cities like Winston Salem, Wilson, Goldsboro and beyond. Let’s keep building!