North Carolina Human
Quality Care, Quality Jobs
In recent weeks, hundreds of North Carolina Department of
Health and Human Services employees have been joining the UE Local 150 DHHS
Dignity Campaign for a strong voice on the job.
DHHS workers are anticipating massive changes to the
Department, although most have had no say about their future. At eight
institutions, they are building a network to voice their concerns.
On April 11, hundreds of workers at the Cherry Hospital and O’Berry
Center here kicked off the Local 150 "Dignity Days" by wearing red
to show solidarity around the need for more staff at their institutions. A
week later, they were joined by co-workers at the Caswell Center in Kingston
in wearing red for a living wage. The following week, DHHS workers wore red to
demonstrate the need to end mandatory overtime.
On more recent Wednesdays, DHHS shows of solidarity have
emphasized respect and fairness on the job, an end to favoritism and
discrimination and more time off. Local 150 has been conducting weekly
"Prayers for Dignity" and raising issues at staff and shift
meetings, and helping to build public support for their Dignity Campaign.
DHHS workers are filling out "dignity ballots,"
expressing their opinions on the major issues confronting state employees. On
June 2, worker-delegates will participate in a DHHS Workers’ Assembly here
to develop an agenda for quality care and quality jobs. The assembly will
elect delegates to present their program to state lawmakers and top DHHS
officials in Raleigh.
UE Local 150 has built substantial membership at Dorothea Dix
Hospital in Raleigh, and the Special Care and Eastern N.C. School for the
Deaf, both in Wilson. With hundreds joining the union in recent weeks, Local
150 also represents DHHS workers at Cherry Hospital and the O’Berry Center
in Goldsboro, the Caswell Center in Kingston and the Murdoch Center and John
Umstead Hospital in Butner.