MEDIA RELEASE: Coalition speaks out for collective bargaining

The NC Hope Coalition says collective bargaining for public-sector workers can promote fairness, reduce costs and help balance the budget
 
RALEIGH (June 15) – Public employees make North Carolina run. But being denied collective bargaining rights is unfair to these hardworking North Carolinians, prevents the state from saving money and undermines North Carolina's economic well-being. 
 
That's the message the NC HOPE Coalition sent at the General Assembly today during an annual lobby day in support of collective bargaining rights.
“Public employees are crucial to our quality of life,” said MaryBe McMillan of the NC State AFL-CIO. “What if we didn't have public sanitation workers and school bus drivers and teachers and firefighters and custodians? We need public employees and public services now more than ever, and it's long past time to treat these hardworking people fairly.”
 
Coalition members urged their legislators to support House Bill 750 and Senate Bill 427, which would permit collective bargaining for public-sector workers. Giving workers a stronger voice, advocates say, would promote efficiency and reduce costs to the taxpayer.
 
“Collective bargaining gives employees a way to propose changes that increase efficiency and decrease costs,” said Larsene Taylor, of the N.C.Public Service Workers Union-UE Local 150. “We should use public employees' unique insights instead of balancing the budget on their backs.”
 
By barring all public employees from bargaining with their employers, North Carolina is out of step with the rest of the nation.  Only North Carolina and Virginia prohibit all their public employees from collectively bargaining. Private sector employees in North Carolina have bargaining rights.
 
“Outlawing collective bargaining isn't just unfair, it’s destructive,” said Ajamu Dillahunt, of the NC Justice Center. “By preventing workers from bargaining for a better life for their families, we prevent economic growth – and with this deep recession, we can’t afford this unfair, anti-growth, anti-family policy.” 
 
 
For More Information, Contact: MaryBe McMillan, Secretary-Treasurer, North Carolina State AFL-CIO, 919-833-6678, marybe@aflcionc.org; Jeff Shaw, Communications Director, NC Justice Center, 503.551.3615, jeff@ncjustice.org.