In a strongly-worded decision made public today, the International Labour Organization (ILO), an agency of the United Nations, issued an unprecedented call for the United States to "promote the establishment of a collective bargaining framework in the public sector in North Carolina," and called specifically for the repeal of North Carolina General Statute § 95-98, the state law that prohibits public employee collective bargaining.
The ILO finding comes in response to a complaint filed in December 2005 by the United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers of America (UE) and UE Local 150, the North Carolina Public Service Union. In February 2006, UE was joined in its complaint by Public Services International (PSI), a worldwide federation of trade unions representing more than 20 million public sector workers in 160 countries.
The ILO ruling is a major victory for labor and civil rights organizations in North Carolina who have been demanding full collective bargaining rights for public employees. UE Local 150 leaders say they expect the ILO's call for changes in North Carolina labor law to have an immediate impact on the General Assembly, and intend to hand-deliver copies of the ILO decision to the office of each member of the Assembly.