WHEREAS, employees of state and local governments provide vital services such as health care, sanitation, and education. Yet millions of workers – state and municipal workers in half of all states – have no legal framework for collective bargaining. Three states, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, explicitly ban collective bargaining. In 1959, during the Jim Crow era when Black people largely had no rights to vote, an all-white state legislature passed General Statue 95-98 banning public worker collective bargaining and strikes.
WHERAS, effective May 1, 2021 local government workers in Virginia are now permitted to collectively bargain if their local government passes a resolution in support of these rights.
WHEREAS, in 2011 Republican legislatures in Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa and other states voted to take away collective bargaining rights from public employees who had them for decades, and the right of public employees to collectively bargain remains endangered in numerous other states. While, the recent Janus vs. AFSCME Supreme Court ruling shows the spreading of right-to-work (for less).
WHEREAS, denial of the right to collectively bargain makes it very difficult for public-sector workers to secure better working conditions for themselves, a better living standard for their families, and a forum to secure quality services for our communities. Furthermore, this denial of collective bargaining in the southern states is a direct historical vestige of slavery and indentured servitude.
WHEREAS, we are proud that in recent years past the Southern Workers International Justice Campaign, initiated by UE Local 150, led the way in repealing the prohibition of collective bargaining in North Carolina, as well as Virginia and West Virginia. We are forging unity and solidarity between the labor movement and the civil rights movement. The repeal on General Statute 95-98 is part of the Historic Thousands on Jones Street Coalition and Moral Monday Movement People’s Agenda.
WHEREAS, UE brought into North Carolina members of the International Labor Organization, an office of the United Nations, which made a ruling in 2007 that NC is in violation of international Human Rights standards by banning collective bargaining for public workers.
WHEREAS, while we fight to win the repeal on the ban of collective bargaining, there are many rights that workers can fight and secure such as Workers Bill of Rights, to establish basic standards, such as Meet-and-confer. The transitional right of Meet-and-Confer and our union’s access in the absence of Collective Bargaining is an essential means of demonstrating our workers power by bring workers’ demands, concerns and new union proposed policies to management and Government.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THIS 12th Bi-Annual UE local 150 CONVENTION:
- Calls for the union to initiate and endorse coalitions and campaigns to win collective bargaining rights for public employees, including the re-formation of the Hear Our Public Employees (HOPE) coalition, to retain public employee bargaining rights in states that have them, and to restore bargaining rights where they have been taken away; and
- Urges all our members to get involved with the UE150 Political Action Committee to aggressively fight the state legislature to repeal GS 95-98 and grant collective bargaining rights for all public workers, including the right to strike, and the passage of Mental Health Workers Bill of Rights and Municipal Workers Bill of Rights; amd
- Urges all chapters to work with local labor, faith and community groups to push forward resolutions in their local city council and county commissioners calling on the state to repeal GS 95-98; and
- Urges members to study all roads forward, including the new law in Virginia and all other States and develop plans of action to win, use and expand Collective Bargaining as well as Meet & Confer; and
- Urges all chapters and division councils to continue discussion on how to best utilize and expand the rights afforded in Governor Roy Cooper’s Executive Order 5; and
- Calls for the continued support for the Southern Workers Assembly (SWA) to support all workers in their fight for workers power, the repeal of Right-to-work (for less) laws and joins in its call to action to organize the South with the core principles of rank-and-file democracy, national and international labor solidarity, organizing the unorganized, fighting all forms of discrimination, building a Southern labor congress and building labor’s power for independent political action; and
- Expresses its support for the education of our members and work associated with the Southern Workers International Justice Campaign, and calls on all locals to continue to support this struggle by holding demonstrations and sending faxes and emails to the government of North Carolina demanding the repeal of General Statute 95-98; and
- Calls for continued support of both the Forward Together-Moral Monday movement and the Historic Thousands on Jones Street Coalition to demand full labor rights, including joining the annual march and rally on the second Saturday in February on Jones Street in Raleigh; and
- Calls for the development of political action materials to educate elected officials and the general public about the need for collective bargaining for public employees; and
- Calls for continued work at the international level to explore using international law to challenge the violation of workers’ rights in the public sector, especially in the South; and
- Calls for the union to continue to explore outside funding for the increased capacity to organize, mobilize, and educate workers to oppose the ban on collective bargaining including the Southern Worker Justice campaign;
- Calls on chapters of the union to participate in local coalitions to win meet-and-confer in all workplaces on a statewide basis, and to develop local and statewide Worker’s Assembly’s, and support the work of the local Workers Assemblies in Durham, Raleigh, Charlotte and Fayetteville.
- Calls on the union at all levels to support OSHA protection for public-sector employees.
Submitted by UE150 Executive Board