From the Labor Commission of the CPUSA, updates, information, news, analysis, and organizing materials in solidarity with workers of the world.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

State Employees Association of North Carolina Joins SEIU in Historic Union Vote

GREENVILLE, N.C. -- On May 3, the State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) voted to affiliate with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). The SEANC convention included 671 elected delegates representing SEANC’s 55,000 state employee members across the state. Nearly 80 percent, or 524 delegates, voted to affiliate with SEIU.

“This vote marks the largest union victory ever for working people across the South -- especially in North Carolina, which previously had the lowest rate of unionization in the country,” said Dana Cope, SEANC’s executive director.

North Carolina currently lags far behind the rest of the country when it comes to public employee pay and benefits. North Carolina ranks 35th in public employee pay, 45th for family health care coverage (the 5th worst state) and 30th in pension benefits. As a result, many state employees can’t afford to remain in state government. Turnover costs climbed from $330 million in 2005 to $362 million in 2006.

By combining SEIU’s expertise with SEANC’s strength, state employees will be better able to partner with the state to improve retention. This will help ensure that more state resources are focused on improving our roads and bridges, strengthening our higher education system, keeping our communities safe and protecting children and the elderly.

“Both SEANC and SEIU members share a deep commitment to building a country that works for everyone and by coming together, we have a chance to make that dream a reality,” said SEIU President Andy Stern.

Uniting with SEIU will also help SEANC build a national presence to advocate for North Carolina and ensure that our communities get their share of funding for critical state services like transportation, health and human services and corrections.

SEANC, SEIU Local 2008, is the South’s leading state employee association with 55,000 members strong. With 1.9 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in North America and includes over one million public employees who have united to improve their lives and the services they provide.

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