Collective Bargaining

Jul 17, 2015

RESOLUTION:  Collective Bargaining Rights for All Workers!

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. Two states, North Carolina and Virginia, explicitly ban collective bargaining. In 2011 Republican legislatures in Wisconsin, Ohio, and other states voted to take away collective bargaining rights from public employees who had had them for decades. The voters of Ohio restored the bargaining rights of public employees in their state. Wisconsin public workers have still not regained their rights, and the right of public employees to collectively bargain remains endangered in numerous other states.

Private sector unions demonstrating that it represents at least 30 percent of the workers in a particular department or workplace wide on a given issue through an issue petition, should have the right to collective bargaining with employers over those issues.

Denial of the right to collectively bargain makes it very difficult for 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.

We are proud that the Southern Workers International Justice Campaign, initiated by UE Local 150, was a leader in launching 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 in the form of The Historic Thousands on Jones Street and Moral Mondays for the repeal of North Carolina General Statute 95-98 that bans collective bargaining rights for public sector workers.

UE’s filing of a complaint in 2006 with the International Labor Organization (ILO), an office of the United Nations, helped to expose that the U.S. is in violation of international Human Rights standards by banning collective bargaining for public workers.  Members of UE150 and the SWIJC later met with representatives of the US Department of Labor in Washington, DC to press for federal action to repeal the ban on public sector collective bargaining rights.


  • Calls for the union to initiate and endorse coalitions and campaigns to win collective bargaining rights for public employees, to retain public employee bargaining rights in states that have them, and to restore bargaining rights where they have been taken away;
  • Urges all our members to get involved with the 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;
  • Calls on workers in the private sector to form unions beginning around core organizing committees that mobilize workers to fight around issues and for the right to bargain collectively, following the example of the CDC Workers Unity Committee and the Carolina Auto, Aerospace and Machine Workers Union;
  • 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;
  • 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 the government of Virginia to repeal Virginia Code Prohibition Against Collective Bargaining;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • Calls on the union at all levels to support OSHA protection for public-sector employees.

Submitted by Raymond Sanders, Cherry Hospital