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The fact that Southern Workers Justice Campaign’s main partner, UE Local 150, has had over three thousand low-wage, majority Black worker members and allies in NC and VA for more than two decades gives us an ability to play an important role in overturning the ban on collective bargaining. Our consistent and persistent grassroots organizing campaigns have allowed us to chip at the state power and win demands for workers. For example, the 2006 Raleigh Sanitation Workers’ Strike resulted in a major victory for fair compensation and improved working conditions. Following the strike, workers used the meet-and-confer process with Raleigh Mayor to overturn unjust firings of dozens of Black workers and win other policies that expand worker power. With greater resources, we believe we will strengthen the movement to overturn the ban on collective bargaining.

With the recent municipal worker strikes in Elizabeth City, NC, and Virginia Beach, VA, composed of overwhelmingly Black workers, there is clearly an appetite for fightback amongst these workers, after having worked two years through a pandemic with little to no appreciation. We seek to tie these workers together for a bi-statewide movement.