There’s a new challenge to our state’s ability to grow and retain good jobs: the largest national labor unions in America. Increased unionization in our workplaces will cost North Carolina jobs, hurting both employees and employers. This time, the unions are focused on new state and federal laws to make all state and local government employees part of their membership and subject to collective bargaining. Teachers, firefighters, police, EMT, and all categories of public employees would be affected. Even Right to Work laws have been attacked in Congress.
That’s why we formed the Coalition for North Carolina Jobs (NC Jobs) in 2006. The common interest of NC Jobs is to ensure that North Carolina’s economic potential is protected from labor union-backed legislation that would reduce opportunities for employees and employers. The Service Employees Union (SEIU), its local affiliate “SEIU Local 2008” (formerly SEANC), the Teamsters (IBT) and the state and national AFL-CIO are pouring money, time and talent into this effort for one primary reason: government employment is the only area of the economy that has led to growth in union membership over the last decade and this sector represents HUGE membership dues dollars.
The immediate challenge at the state and federal level is North Carolina’s approach to public employee unions. Current state law does not allow collective bargaining between state or local governments and labor unions. The reason is simple: government service is fundamentally different in purpose, financing and ownership than private enterprise. Public employee unions have also been at the center of political corruption, illegal strikes and influence abuses in states like New York, Michigan, California and Massachusetts. It’s why over 30 states have restrictions or total bans on public employee bargaining rights and why North Carolina wisely maintains a complete ban. These same states also tend to be the “Right to Work” states which produced the best job growth and retention in the last two decades.
Federal or state attempts to reverse our state’s successful statute on public employee unions must be defeated. Our public policy has helped grow jobs and opportunities for citizens and employers for decades.