Local 150 Rally
On UNC Campus Gets
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.
All UE rallies should have such a swift, positive result: As union members rallied on the University of North Carolina
campus and demanded a meeting with management, Provost Robert Shelton unexpectedly took the bullhorn from Dir. of Org. Bob
Kingsley — and agreed.
UNC housekeepers, members of UE Local 150, North Carolina Public Service Workers Union, rallied on April 30 to protest low
pay, heavy workloads and lack of respect from supervisors. They were joined by members of UE Local 150A, the UNC graduate student and
adjunct faculty union.
Union members, many wearing UE shirts, carried placards with slogans such as "Workers Demand Respect" and
"We Need a Raise." They enthusiastically chanted "Hey hey, ho ho, Bill Burston’s got to go," referring to their
boss, the UNC housekeeping director.
Budget cuts have had a direct impact on working conditions as UNC housekeeping management has avoided hiring to fill
Local 150 Pres. Barbara Prear criticized the university’s practice of forcing housekeepers to take other
employees’ shifts. "I shouldn’t be responsible when another person’s out — that is the University’s responsibility to put
someone on their job," she said.
Another of the many housekeepers who addressed the rally, Marsha Tinnen declared, "The University needs to
step up to the table and be responsible for the different issues that we have."
"You have people in a work environment that are being treated unfairly," said Brian Thomas, a graduate
student and Local 150A member. He read the University’s mission state, which includes a reference to improving the condition of human
life. The employer, Thomas said, "is not completing their mission."
STRUGGLE FOR JUSTICE
"You’re engaged in a struggle for fairness and a struggle for justice, as well as a struggle for dignity and
respect," Bob Kingsley told the housekeepers.
The UE national officer pointed out that in September, the UE national convention will take place in North Carolina.
"If (the administration) doesn’t come across and speak to (housekeepers), they’re going to hear from our national body — face
to face — in September," Kingsley vowed.
Provost Shelton then stepped forward. The rally had caught his attention, he said, and he stopped to listen to workers’
concerns. "I want to say on behalf of the chancellor that we’re pleased you’re here to share your concerns with us," the UNC
All in all, Barbara Prear commented later, "it was a great rally."