What is the state of workers’ rights in North Carolina?
It is a commonly held belief among many North Carolinians that workers in this state cannot legally join a union–this is absolutely false. Workers throughout the state and the country have the constitutional right to freely join a union. However, it is illegal for public sector workers (those who are employed by the state or local governments) in North Carolina to collectively bargain with their employer. North Carolina and Virginia are the only two states where collective bargaining is ILLEGAL.
What is collective bargaining and why is it so important?
Collective bargaining is the basic process of negotiation between workers who have organized into a union or other employee based labor association and their employers on issues such as wages, work rules, child care, health and safety on the job, benefits such as health care plans, workplace injustices, etc. While public workers in North Carolina can negotiate with their employer and join unions, collective bargaining establishes a legally enforceable and binding agreement between workers and management, making the bosses legally accountable in the process of negotiation and any decisions that may be reached during this process.
When was collective bargaining banned in North Carolina and what is the ban’s ties to racism?
Collective bargaining was banned in North Carolina in 1959 by NC General Statute 95-98, which declared any contract between state or local government and any labor organization as “against the public policy of the state” and thus “illegal, unlawful, void, and of no effect.” This law was passed amid the Jim Crow racism of the South and legal segregation, at a time when Black people were systematically denied their rights, including the right to vote. Workers in Charlotte, Raleigh, Greensboro, and across the state were organizing themselves into unions to fight back against low wages, discrimination on the job, unsafe working conditions and long hours, and a climate of Jim Crow racism. Recently, in response to a suit filed by UE 150 (the North Carolina Public Service Workers Union), the International Labor Organization (ILO) of the United Nations condemned the ban as a violation or workers’ basic human rights and called on North Carolina to repeal the ban on collective bargaining.
REPEAL JIM CROW 95-98! COLLECTIVE BARGAINING IS A HUMAN RIGHT! UNC: RESPECT WORKERS AND THE RIGHT TO ORGANIZE!