The newspaper photo speaks volumes of worker determination:
Some 50 resolute municipal employees carry signs that read: "Fairness for
City Workers" as they surround the beleaguered city manager.
Welcome UE’s latest members.
In balloting completed the week of May 10, the nearly 100
members of the Durham City Workers Union voted overwhelmingly to affiliate
ORGANIZED FOR MORE THAN 40 YEARS
The union represents close to 1,000 municipal employees who
collect garbage, maintain the streets, staff offices and perform dozens of
other duties that make the city government run. They have been organized for
more than 40 years; led by Pres. Nathanette Mayo, a veteran labor and civil
rights activist, they chose to leave a do-nothing union.
The Durham City Workers are now part of UE Local 150, the
North Carolina Public Service Workers’ Union, a growing and exciting
statewide movement. The founding meeting of the North Carolina Public Service
Workers’ Union took place in their local union hall, and they have supported
the work of Local 150 since its inception.
DESPITE ANTI-LABOR LAWS
Like other public sector workers in North Carolina, the Durham
municipal employees are denied the right to bargain collectively and strike.
The state’s anti-labor laws may have slowed down but have in no way stopped
the Durham city workers. They have dues check-off and a system of "meet
and confer" with city management. State law outlaws collective bargaining
agreements, but the Durham workers’ union has achieved memoranda of
As a result of the legal restrictions, the Durham workers have
a fighting history of using political activism to impact city government to
achieve their goals. The union has been involved in city elections and
frequently raises the public profile of city worker issues through
demonstrations and public forums. In support of the union’s ongoing
"Workers Want Fairness" campaign, workers picketed City Hall this
past fall and winter.
Union members speak to neighborhood associations, churches and
clubs. Union members and supporters even use yard signs to raise their
"Workers Want Fairness" demands.
WORKERS WANT FAIRNESS CAMPAIGN
Key issues in the "Workers Want Fairness" campaign
are pay and compensation, dignity and respect, protection of health and
safety, and correction of insufficient staffing, unresponsive management and
By affiliating with UE, Durham city workers hope to achieve a
stronger union, through development of a strategic plan, leadership
training and an organizing plan; a stronger voice, through alliance
with UE Local 150, a political action plan, organizing outreach, an expanded
public campaign and involvement with UE; and tools to get the job done,
through assistance of UE staff in the National office and in North Carolina.
The Durham City Workers’ Union was assisted in its
affiliation campaign by UE Field Org. Saladin Muhammad.