Today marks the third week Charlotte City Workers and their supporters will picket at the Government Center. The Charlotte City Workers Union chapter of UE150 are continuing their major public campaign to draw attention to their demands.
The Charlotte City Workers Union released the following statement today:
Charlotte City Workers Continue Weekly Rally to Demand Fairness and Recognition of Human Rights
WHAT: City workers picket City Council for fairness and rights at work
WHEN: Monday, August 20 at 5:30pm
WHO: Charlotte City Workers Union, chapter of UE150 and community supporters
WHERE: Government Center, 600 East 4th Street, Charlotte, NC 28202
In the weeks leading up to the Democratic National Convention, Charlotte city workers have been picketing city council demanding recognition of their basic worker rights. Each week more workers participate. As the City of Charlotte uses its status as host of the DNC to boast that it is a world-class city, the rank-n-file workers that keep the city clean and safe are being denied their basic rights at work. UE150 will also be releasing an open letter to the Obama Administration, Charlotte City Council and state elected officials to honor and enact a Municipal Workers Bill of Rights ordinance and to follow through on the ruling of United Nation’s International Labor Organization ruling to repeal ban on collective bargaining for public employees.
During last weeks rally, sanitation worker Charles Carr stated “Management told us at a meeting this morning that we couldn’t wear our uniform at this rally today, but that’s not right. That’s why I’m here.” Speaking to the long time efforts of city management to dissuade city workers from joining a union and exercising their democratic rights to freedom of association and freedom of speech but also continuing practice of abuse of power and disciplinary actions for petty issues. While workers are being asked to work more and more hours, many are now working 12 hour day 6 or 7 days a week in build up to the DNC, they are being written up for and potentially given 6 month probation or 30 days unpaid suspension for minor offenses such as running over a curb.
“The hard work we do is vital for this city to function, so we are asking the City Council to address our needs and rights as workers and to establish a system of meet-and-confer with us to discuss how to keep the city running smoothly through the convention,” stated Al Locklear, a sanitation worker and President of UE150 chapter of Charlotte City Workers Union. “When we saw that the city manager received two raises this year totaling over $20,000 yet we hardly didn’t get anything, we realized that our hard work is not recognized.”
City workers are are campaigning for the adoption of a City Workers Bill of Rights so that they have decent working conditions and be paid a decent wage for their hard work. UE150 union members are also requesting representation in grievance hearings and also voluntary payroll deduction for workers that choose to join the union. The City of Charlotte does have the authority to meet-n-confer with the union and grant other basic union rights such as pay roll deduction, as is done in at least three other cities across the state and for all state employees. They wish to join other workers from across the South as part of the Southern Workers Assembly on Labor Day, the first day of the DNC. However, even though some workers in the US get Labor Day off, many, especially the most oppressed and low wage workers do not get Labor Day, just as the Democrats celebrate Carolinas.
Patrick Walton, sanitation worker, stated at the August 13 rally that “my coworkers and I were told that we would not be getting any days off during the DNC. Workers have to work on Labor Day. We have temporary workers in our department who have been here over a year and are still not city employees. Some are women with kids who get up at 5 am and go to work but are told they are not needed that day and then go home. I’m ready to say now that I’ve always been for unions”
Charlotte City Workers Union chapter along with the statewide UE150, NC Public Service Workers Union and dozens of other unions and workers organizations from states across the US South will be participating in the Southern Workers Assembly on Monday, September 3 on Labor Day, the opening day of the DNC to continue to raise their demands for recognition of a Workers Bill of Rights. Check out http://southernworker.org for more information.
The press is invited to attend the picket and interview workers on Monday, August 20 at 5:30pm. For more information contact Charlotte City Workers Union, UE150 chapter president Al Locklear at 704-241-9856 or UE150 Field Organizer Dante Strobino at 919-539-2051
Please come out and show your support! See you in the streets!