Vice President Harris will visit Durham to promote jobs in the unions

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Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the Charlotte Area Transit System Garage in Charlotte, NC, on Thursday, December 2, 2021.

Knikouyeh@charlotteobserver.com

Vice President Kamala Harris will visit Durham on Wednesday to promote “paid union work” in North Carolina, one of the country’s least union-friendly states.

Labor Minister Marty Walsh will join the Vice President to discuss “the Biden-Harris administration’s investment in our workers,” Harris’s office said in a statement. Details of the location of their visit were not released as of Tuesday afternoon.

North Carolina ranks second in the country in the number of unions, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor. North Carolina and South Carolina are usually the least unionized states in the United States: in 2021, 2.6% and 1.7% of workers, respectively, belong to unions.

Targeted legislation has long undermined the power of trade unions and banned collective bargaining in some areas. The 1959 law prohibits union negotiations on behalf of public sector employees, and North Carolina’s “right to work” law does not allow employers to oblige union members.

Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.

“The pandemic has certainly been a major shift in the collective consciousness of workers who understand that their bosses literally don’t care if they die,” said Dante Strobina, organizer of the North Carolina Civil Service Workers ’Union in Durham. “When the right worker comes to work to do an important service – be it sanitation, care or meat packing – and they see that literally their boss doesn’t care about establishing minimum protection for their safety … they understand that they can no longer count on the government to protect them. Their only means of survival and security is to organize a union, to unite, to immediately put pressure on their boss to make changes. “

The pandemic has sparked strikes by workers across the state and sparked new calls to protect unions. From restaurant staff to school bus drivers, workers are calling for change.

“I join the union because I want to be treated like a human, not a robot,” said Sharon Gilman, a Starbucks employee, The News & Observer. Her location in Raleigh became the 87th in the international coffee network move towards unification.

“I want my health and well-being to take precedence over the work of the store,” Gilman said, “and I want my fellow partners to have a positive work environment in which we all feel grateful for our hard work.”

Even before taking office in 2021, Joe Biden said he would be “the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen.” His vocal support marked a clear departure from the restraint of former President Barack Obama to support declining union influence, and a 180-degree turn away from the Trump administration.

The Biden-Harris administration’s ongoing campaign to revitalize unions may be part of a broader strategy show commitment to working class votersmany of whom supported Donald Trump in the last two elections.

“I think Biden and Harris want to come to Durham because they respond to the movement of workers who gather, organize, mobilize to challenge the way things work,” Strobina said.

But some think the increase in union activity will discourage major employers from settling in North Carolina, thereby weakening the state’s sustainable economy.

“As North Carolina approaches the 75th anniversary of the Labor Law this month, it’s disappointing to see Vice President Kamala Harris visit the state to promote unions,” said Mitch Kokai, a political analyst with the John Locke Foundation. organization of conservative policies. “… Since almost ten years ago the General Assembly embarked on a path of serious tax reform, the economic engine has gone even faster. When our state’s economy suffers from a lack of union activity, no one has told people who continue to sail to North Carolina every day. They see a state filled with opportunities. Strengthening union membership will not improve this picture. Most likely, it would have the opposite effect. “

Republican Senate leader Phil Berger told N&O that increasing union membership would weaken the state’s bargaining power with future companies.

“The Biden-Harris administration has been a major disaster for the economy,” he said in an e-mail. “It’s a pretty safe bet that everything Vice President Harris” sells “is wrong for North Carolina and wrong for America.”

Because the Republican-controlled legislature is unlikely to repeal laws that undermine union power, organizations like Strobin will never gain significant power in negotiations in North Carolina. But “true union power” is the only front, he said.

“Although we cannot conclude a binding contract, which some people think is a defining characteristic of a union,” Strobin said, “we believe that a defining characteristic of a union is simply the workers who unite, stand up and stand for them.” rights and confrontation of injustice ”.

This story was originally published March 1, 2022, 2:08 p.m.

Lars Dolder is a business reporter for The News & Observer with a focus on retail.



Vice President Harris will visit Durham to promote jobs in the unions

Source link Vice President Harris will visit Durham to promote jobs in the unions