Tag Archives: Labor

No public employee collective bargaining, union ballot rules in new right-to-work bill

Introduced this morning by House Speaker Thom Tillis with Representatives Moffitt and Murray, this bill contains a provision calling for a constitutional amendment on secret ballot voting.
House Bill 6 Main Page

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT amending the north carolina constitution to guarantee the right of an Individual to work, TO make contracts between a unit of government and a labor organization as bargaining agent concerning public employees illegal, and to PRESERVE THE RIGHT OF AN INDIVIDUAL TO VOTE BY SECRET BALLOT FOR An election, DESIGNATION, or authorization FOR EMPLOYEE REPRESENTATION BY A LABOR ORGANIZATION.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

PART I. GUARANTEE RIGHT TO WORK

SECTION 1.1. Article I of the North Carolina Constitution is amended by adding a new section to read:

“Sec. 38. Right to Work.

The right to live includes the right to work. The exercise of the right to work must be protected and maintained free from undue restraints and coercion. It is hereby declared to be the public policy of North Carolina that the right of persons to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or nonmembership in any labor union or labor organization or association.”

SECTION 1.2. The amendment set out in Section 1.1 of this act shall be submitted to the qualified voters of the State at the general election in November 2014, which election shall be conducted under the laws then governing elections in the State. Ballots, voting systems, or both may be used in accordance with Chapter 163 of the General Statutes. The question to be used in the voting systems and ballots shall be:

“[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST

Constitutional amendment to provide that the right to live includes the right to work and therefore the right of persons to work shall not be denied or abridged on account of membership or nonmembership in any labor union or labor organization or association.”

SECTION 1.3. If a majority of votes cast on the question are in favor of the amendment set out in Section 1.1 of this act, the State Board of Elections shall certify the amendment to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State shall enroll the amendment so certified among the permanent records of that office.

SECTION 1.4. The amendment set out in Section 1.1 of this act is effective upon certification.

PART II. NO PUBLIC EMPLOYEE COLLECTIVE BARGAINING

SECTION 2.1. Article I of the North Carolina Constitution is amended by adding a new section to read:

“Sec. 39. Contracts between units of government and labor unions, trade unions, or labor organizations concerning public employees declared to be illegal.

Any agreement or contract between the governing authority of any city, town, county, or other municipality, or between any agency, unit, or instrumentality thereof, or between any agency, instrumentality, or institution of the State of North Carolina, and any labor union, trade union, or labor organization, as bargaining agent for any public employees of such city, town, county, or other municipality, or agency or instrumentality of government, is hereby declared to be against the public policy of the State, illegal, unlawful, void, and of no effect.”

SECTION 2.2. The amendment set out in Section 2.1 of this act shall be submitted to the qualified voters of the State at the general election in November 2014, which election shall be conducted under the laws then governing elections in the State. Ballots, voting systems, or both may be used in accordance with Chapter 163 of the General Statutes. The question to be used in the voting systems and ballots shall be:

“[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST

Constitutional amendment providing that any contract between a unit of government and a labor union, trade union, or labor organization as bargaining agent for public employees is illegal.”

SECTION 2.3. If a majority of votes cast on the question are in favor of the amendment set out in Section 2.1 of this act, the State Board of Elections shall certify the amendment to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State shall enroll the amendment so certified among the permanent records of that office.

SECTION 2.4. The amendment set out in Section 2.1 of this act is effective upon certification.

PART III. PRESERVE RIGHT TO SECRET BALLOT ON EMPLOYEE REPRESENTATION

SECTION 3.1 Article I of the North Carolina Constitution is amended by adding a new section to read:

“Sec. 40. Secret ballot on employee representation.

The fundamental right of an individual to vote by secret ballot for employee representation by a labor organization shall be guaranteed where State or federal law permits or requires elections, designations, or authorizations for employee representation by a labor organization.”

SECTION 3.2. The amendment set out in Section 3.1 of this act shall be submitted to the qualified voters of the State at the general election in November 2014, which election shall be conducted under the laws then governing elections in the State. Ballots, voting systems, or both may be used in accordance with Chapter 163 of the General Statutes. The question to be used in the voting systems and ballots shall be:

“[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST

Constitutional amendment providing that the fundamental right of an individual to vote by secret ballot for employee representation by a labor organization shall be guaranteed where State or federal law permits or requires election, designation, or an authorization for employee representation by a labor organization.”

SECTION 3.3. If a majority of votes cast on the question are in favor of the amendment set out in Section 3.1 of this act, the State Board of Elections shall certify the amendment to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State shall enroll the amendment so certified among the permanent records of that office.

SECTION 3.4. The amendment set out in Section 3.1 of this act is effective upon certification.

PART IV. EFFECTIVE DATE

SECTION 4.1 This act is effective when it becomes law.

Reflections on the recent kerfuffle

Well, I refrained all weekend from wading into the discussion of whether certain newspapers and other media outlets who dared to call out the leadership on the sketchy nature of the recent after-midnight session are staffed with card-carrying Kenyan socialists. I know the playbook says attack the messengers, but really.
The evening was just pure, raw politics. Anyone who reported it otherwise missed a heck of a story.

Here’s Senator Josh Stein railing at the House move that evening:

WRAL’s Laura Leslie, who was chided and mocked by the Civitas folks, details how sketchy:

Under North Carolina General Statute 143-318.12, all public bodies are required to give at least 48 hours’ public notice for a meeting that isn’t regularly scheduled.

But the General Assembly is required to give only “reasonable public notice” – and “reasonable” isn’t defined.

The N&R’s Mark Binker lays out the play by play:

As late as 11 p.m., there was a still a great deal of confusion and speculation as to what the Republican-lead House might want to take up instead of the Racial Justice Act and how they might legally do anything else.

The state constitution says that when the governor recalls the General Assembly to consider a veto, lawmakers “may only consider such bills as were returned by the Governor.”

House Republicans got around that strict limit on what could be heard by passing an adjournment resolution that called for a new special session to begin at 12:45 a.m. Thursday morning.

Whether the move was unconstitutional or just sneaky, let’s not lose sight of what this display was all about. That was foretold in the celebrated open mic discussion last summer when Speaker Tillis said the card check bill was punishment for the NCAE’s political work. You can dredge up whatever midnight vote or sleight of hand moment from session past, but you won’t find many, if any, so specifically targeted. Most of the recent past has been over far less petty matters of public policy like the lottery and the biennial budget. This one was a quick pivot from the failure to override the governor’s veto of the repeal of the Racial Justice Act to a quick, easy and deceitful political win.
You have to wonder if it was worth it. If in the long run it does serve to reduce the flow of funds to the NCAE’s political activities, you could see it that way.
The N&O’s Rob Christensen put it in perspective:

The legislature hopes to weaken if not destroy the NCAE, the teachers lobby, which – along with its parent organization – poured nearly $2 million into North Carolina races mainly to help elect Democrats in 2008.

The NCAE may take a hit, but there’s an awful lot of money in politics. An awful lot. And that’s not going away anytime soon. This was more about teaching respect or, as Tillis said in the open mic meeting, “giving them a taste.”
In the short run, there was damage done inside the legislature that will be hard to repair ahead of the next election. It’s another example of the mean-spirited politics that has marked this session and this time included a enough deception to thoroughly damage the chances of any future ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ over possible outcomes of any given session.
Beyond Jones Street keeping the lights on and running up the cost of the session to get in one swift political kick won’t sit well with voters and should serve to strengthen the resolve of those determined to win back the House. But don’t expect any remorse to set in on the GOP side. As spokesperson Rob Lockwood told Leslie after the vote: “The people really don’t care about how it was done.”

Also in the Veto Garage
You can read into the decision not to bring up overrides of fracking/ offshore drilling and Voter ID legislation bill as an indication that either the votes weren’t there or it wasn’t seen as worth the risk. Compared to those two bills, the card check legislation wasn’t likely to generate as much fallout.
There’s no reason to be in a hurry on fracking. With the industry positioning itself for when regulations are ready and new environmental rules on fracking being drafted, some kind of legislation allowing the practice is likely to move ahead in the next session regardless of whether the veto of S709 is overridden or not. That will set up another standoff with the governor that has the same feel as the current standoff between the president and congress over the Keystone pipeline project. Be prepared to see plenty of see pretty green advertisements from drilling companies.
The Voter ID bill is going to be much harder to move in the spring session and for that reason we could see either an override attempt in February mini session. The closer it gets to the election the easier it is to make the case that any fiddling with the election laws are attempts at disenfranchisement. There’s still a chance that even with the Department of Justice showing some resolve in challenging the slew of ID laws, the leadership may go for it. The other possibility, although it seems less likely given the hyper-partisanship, is an agreement with the governor, who had offered to sign a modified piece of ID legislation.