Rob Schofield posted a piece in April of 2019 on NC Policy Watch that reported on an effort for all of North Carolina’s public employees to have collective bargaining rights.
More than 600,000 public employees throughout North Carolina would obtain a right that’s been denied to them for 60 years under a pair companion bills introduced in the North Carolina House and Senate and highlighted at a press event this morning in Raleigh. House Bill 710 and Senate Bill 575 would repeal North Carolina General Statute section 95-98, the six-decade-old ban on collective bargaining by public employees.
At an event in the state Legislative Building this morning, an array of public officials and advocates decried the ban as both a Jim Crow-era violation of basic human rights and an impediment to the delivery of safe, affordable and efficient public services. North Carolina public employees — including state, county and municipal workers like teachers, police officers, and firefighters — “deserve a seat at the table” said Senator Wiley Nickel (D-Wake). North Carolina is one of only three states with such a statutory ban, Nickel added — a fact he linked to low retention and high turnover rates among public workers at all levels.
The ban itself was established in the Jim Crow-era. It literally is the last holdover as far as laws are concerned. And NC is one of seven states that makes collective bargaining illegal.
What those bills reminded this teacher of was an op-ed by a young teacher in Durham named Matt Tyler who gave a very good argument on why teachers should push for collective bargaining rights. In “Teachers should take aim at North Carolina’s collective bargaining laws“, Tyler writes about the 2018 march and rally on May 16th. He stated,
“State legislators like Rep. Mark Brody – who last week called marching teachers “union thugs” – pit unions (which don’t exist in North Carolina) against quality education. To the contrary, states that allow for collective bargaining are less likely to see teachers’ strikes. This is a result, as Agustina Paglayan writes in the Washington Post, of a collective bargaining system that is responsive to distraught educators’ legitimate concerns. Because teachers in collective bargaining states have a legitimized outlet to voice their concerns, they do not need to strike to be heard. Indeed, collective bargaining agreements oftentimes impose stiff penalties for strikes. In other words, collective bargaining laws provide a relief valve for tensions between the government and public-sector employees.”
Ironic, that on the map above only seven states outlaw collective bargaining rights.
Eleven allow for them to be used.
32 require them to be used. North Carolina should be number 33.