Over the past several months, UE Local 150 chapters have waged campaigns which won wage increases for municipal workers in cities across North Carolina. Although the state of North Carolina bans collective bargaining in the public sector, Local 150 members circulated petitions, held press conferences, and spoke at city council, winning significant improvements for municipal workers.
In Charlotte, North Carolina’s largest city, the Charlotte City Workers Union won an $18.50 minimum wage for all city workers and a 1.5 percent merit plus 1.5 percent step increase for all workers. LYNX light-rail mechanics will receive retroactive hazard pay premium of five percent covering March 2020 to January 1, 2021. The city also agreed to study shift premium pay for nights and weekends, starting next year.
In Greensboro, the city worker chapter’s four-year battle to win a step pay plan took a leap forward when the city manager proposed $100,000 in this year’s budget to start such a plan, with full implementation next year. For this year, workers won a three percent merit raise with new language explaining how merit is determined by departments.
In Durham, union meetings with the mayor, mayor pro tempore and several members of city council resulted in the city doubling its proposed $1,500 bonus to $3,000. Workers will also receive a two percent wage increase. The city manager has agreed to quarterly meet-and-confer meetings with the union, and the chapter is advancing its proposal to overhaul the city’s grievance procedure to make it more fair. The city has also committed to the creation of a new Community Safety Department to respond to 911 calls with mental health workers, social workers and other alternatives to armed police. Sixty positions from the police department will be moved into this new department over the course of the next three years.
Raleigh city workers have won a $17.33 minimum wage for all city workers, and merit increases of two or four percent.