Laws passed by the North Carolina General Assembly impact greatly the lives of union members, their families, and all North Carolina citizens. The North Carolina State AFL-CIO works hard to initiate and support legislation helpful to workers and their families and to defeat legislation that is harmful to their interests. The job is an enormous one, for the organization is often the only voice for working people in the state – organized and unorganized.
Most of the NC State AFL-CIO’s efforts at the state level focus on the areas of workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits, workplace health and safety, and wage-and-hour legislation. The organization has contributed to making our laws in these areas among the best in the Southeast and indeed the nation. Other areas where we are involved include health care, taxes, education and consumer protection.
The State AFL-CIO also conducts an aggressive federal legislative agenda by working with affiliates to influence federal legislation important to them individually and to the labor movement generally. Social Security, the Patient Bill of Rights, and trade related legislation being a few examples.
Those elected to public office exert a tremendous impact on our lives and the North Carolina State AFL-CIO is actively involved in helping to elect worker friendly candidates for national, statewide and local offices. At the beginning of every election cycle, representatives from unions across the state gather to hear from and screen candidates for the purpose of making endorsements. The membership is encouraged to vote for these endorsed candidates and to volunteer some of their free time to help those candidates. This process is driven by issues, not political party affiliation.
The North Carolina State AFL-CIO is involved in supporting union organizing efforts around the state, both among employees covered by the National Labor Relations Act and by those who are not. This is done by helping unions that organize to connect with unions for support, by supplying information, by connecting workers interested in organizing with the right union, and by training affiliates in organizing and in how to assist organizing campaigns in their areas.
The North Carolina State AFL-CIO works to help provide affiliated unions with the information and training they need or request. For example, each summer it hosts an extremely popular Labor School, a weeklong institute for affiliated local leadership and potential leadership designed to build skills and knowledge in areas from labor history to lobbying. The North Carolina State AFL-CIO also conducts periodic workshops on subjects such as labor law, workers’ compensation, organizing, and other issues, and also publishes periodic Local Union Updates that give a synopsis of news of interest or importance to those in the labor community in North Carolina.