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Local 150 Calls
On NCSU to Recognize
Language Rights


Press conference at North Carolina State called by UE Local 150 to demand that the university administration recognize the language rights of NCSU workers ...

Latina community activist Maria Sada addresses the press conference at North Carolina State called by UE Local 150 to demand that the university administration recognize the language rights of NCSU workers.

After she was reprimanded last year for speaking in Spanish to a co-worker, North Carolina State University housekeeper Maricruz Ramos filed a grievance with the help of the UE Local 150 Legal Committee and other union members. Local 150 would like NCSU to clarify its policy on workers speaking Spanish in the workplace.

During the grievance proceedings, the NCSU administration denied that anything wrong happened to Ramos. However, Lawrence Bradley, assistant director for housekeeping, said in a letter to the grievant that Dick Miller, facilities personnel director, had "consented to send out a written communication explaining employees’ rights to speak their native language in the workplace."


Workers have not yet seen a memo explaining the university’s policy. UE Local 150 is calling on workers, students, faculty and other justice-minded people to call on Miller to demand that a written policy be established immediately. Workers, students and community supporters spoke at a press conference to bring attention to discrimination at NCSU.

More than 25 student and community members joined with UE Local 150 members for the press conference Monday, Feb. 5 at NC State University in Raleigh. Among the groups participating were the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC), the African-American/Latino Alliance and the NC Occupational and Safety Health Project.

Speaking at the press conference were UE Local 150 Pres. Barbara Prear, NCSU union members Maricruz Ramos and John Daniels, APWU Raleigh area President Ajamu Dillahunt (for the African-American/Latino Alliance) and Maria Sada, Latina community supporter.

The press conference was covered by two newspapers, the Raleigh News and Observor, and the NC State Technician and at least three TV stations, one which gave extensive coverage.

The press conference exposed the university’s language discrimination to the community, creating pressure on the university for the appropriate response. Organizers also hope to show Latino and other workers that it is important to expose discrimination and not fear retaliation. Speakers highlighted the need for all workers to fight all kinds of discrimination — showing the connection between discrimination against black and Latino workers and the need for unity.

"UE 150 has supported Ms. Ramos in her case because as a union we stand against discrimination based on race, language, gender, sexual orientation, age, etc.," said the union’s NCSU Chapter in its March newsletter.

UE News - 04/01

Home -> UE News -> 2001 Archives -> Article

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