We were members of the HK on J march and people’s assembly last Saturday (Act Now, Feb. 6). Some news reports incorrectly stated that we marched to “allow state employees the right to unionize.” We already have this right and more of us should exercise it.
However, public sector workers who pick up our garbage, clean and repair our streets, provide hospital care in state facilities, drive our public transit and school buses, teach our children, protect us from crime and deadly fires, and provide many more necessary services to our citizens and our government are denied by North Carolina law the right to bargain collectively with our employers. More than 600,000 public sector workers in our state are impacted by this unjust law.
Public sector workers who joined the march were marching for the right to an enforceable contract on the job. This will ensure us a democratic voice at work so that services to our citizens are better provided for, we have safe and healthy working conditions, issues of race and gender discrimination can be directly addressed, and so that we have adequate pay to raise our families. These are concerns recognizable to every North Carolina citizen.
Our union is supporting House Bill 1583, which will repeal the law that prohibits collective bargaining. When will North Carolina recognize the human and civil rights of its own workforce? Make it this year. Pass HB 1583.
President, UE Local 150
This letter was signed by additional union officials.