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COLLECTIVE BARGAINING RIGHTS FOR PUBLIC EMPLOYEES
Public employees provide vital services such as healthcare, sanitation, and education. Public workers in half of all states, including West Virginia, have no legal framework for collective bargaining. North Carolina and Virginia explicitly ban collective bargaining for public employees. Starting with Wisconsin in 2011 public employee bargaining rights in several states have been gutted. The right of public employees to collectively bargain remains endangered in numerous other states.
The right to collectively bargain is essential for workers to improve their wages and working conditions. Collective bargaining rights also enable public workers to fight for better services for the communities they serve. Denial of collective bargaining in the southern states is a vestige of slavery and Jim Crow.
We are proud that the Southern Workers International Justice Campaign, initiated by UE Local 150, is leading the fight to repeal 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. The work of our statewide unions, with their multi-racial membership and leadership, represents a powerful weapon for social progress.
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT THIS 74th UE CONVENTION:
1. Calls for the union at all levels to initiate campaigns for public-employee collective bargaining rights which will gain these rights in states where we lack them, retain and strengthen them in states where they exist, including the right to strike, and restore them where they have been stripped away;
2. Calls for a UE public sector convergence to address the critical issues facing public workers across our union including collective bargaining rights, privatization, and union rights of public employees for the purpose of developing an agenda for public-sector workers in the union;
3. Calls on locals to demand the governments of North Carolina and Virginia repeal their bans on collective bargaining;
4. Supports the Southern Workers Assembly in its call to organize the South;
5. Supports the Southern Workers International Justice Campaign;
6. Supports the education of elected officials and the general public regarding the need for collective bargaining for public employees;
7. Supports work at the international level challenging the violation of public workers’ rights, especially in the South.