Labor Movement featuring Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II
ALAN McSURELY, Civil Rights Lawyer
P. O. Box 1290 Chapel Hill, NC 27514
(ph) 919-968-1278; (fax) 1566
August 17, 2005
Dear Friends in the Labor Movement, People of Faith, and the Civil Rights Movement,
Rev. Dr. William Barber has long been a staunch ally of the Public Employees Movement in North Carolina. He has been a steady supporter of the Housekeepers, the DOT-7 and other State Employees efforts to expose and eliminate racism in the workplace. He has worked closely with UE-150 leadership and the locals in Wayne and other eastern counties near his home church in Goldsboro. He has made as one of his highest priorities the repeal of the Jim Crow law (G.S. 95-98) that prohibits public employees from collectively bargaining.
Black Labor in North Carolina was in chains for over 200 years. With the legal status of chattel property, Black Labor had zero bargaining power with its slave masters. After slavery was abolished in l865 and for the next hundred years, Black Labor lived under the yoke of Jim Crow laws that shored up the southern anti-labor tradition. These laws permitted white labor to have a few more crumbs from the table.
Between 1955-1965, because of the sacrifices of Black people across the South, race discrimination in the workplace was outlawed. During this decade of struggle and change however, North Carolina passed G.S. 95-98 that outlawed collective bargaining for its public employees. This law shut the door on the first generation of Black employees who were being hired by State and local governments because of the Civil Rights Act. As one supervisor at UNC-CH testified in a famous trial, "We may have to hire them, but we don’t have to promote them or give them any say." This Jim Crow Law stopped the first generation of Black public employees from achieving any bargaining power. North Carolina is one of the last states to continue this outlaw collective bargaining. This law affects the people of color on the bottom of the civil service ladder disproportionately. It is indeed a Jim Crow law. Until Black Labor can bargain directly with employers, Black Labor will always be on the bottom. It has no place in modern North Carolina.
Dr. Barber, like Dr. King, understands that until Black Labor gets some rights, all of the other problems African Americans and other people of color face will be difficult to solve. Please print the enclosed flyer about Dr. Barber’s address, and urge your friends to honor Labor on Labor Day by participating in this historic call to action by one of our premier moral leaders and orators.
Yours for Civil Rights & Labor Unity,
LABOR DAY SUNDAY PUBLIC MEETING
REPEAL JIM CROW LAW—G.S. 95-98
A Historic Public Address by
Dr. William Joseph Barber II
Pastor, Greenleaf Christian Church
Goldsboro, North Carolina
An Unbroken History of Prophetic Ministry and Leadership
in the Struggle for Civil, Human and Labor Rights.
September 4th, 2005
Pullen Memorial Baptist Church
W. W. Finlator Room
1801 Hillsborough Street
Raleigh, North Carolina
Sponsored by UE-150, the Public Service Employees Union of North Carolina