For Immediate Release

Contact: Jeremy Sprinkle, Communications Director, jeremy@aflcionc.org, 336-255-2711

Statement by NC State AFL-CIO on House Bill 318
“Like so many policies passed by this legislature, this bill hurts working people and should be vetoed immediately.” — MaryBe McMillan

RALEIGH, N.C. (September 29, 2015) – The North Carolina State AFL-CIO issued the following statement on the final passage of House Bill 318, which now goes to the Governor for his signature or veto.

“North Carolina lawmakers have raised the bar for showing hostility to the interests of working people with H.B. 318, and that’s saying something for a legislature which has made a sport out of bullying the unemployed and the working poor,” said MaryBe McMillan, secretary-treasurer of the North Carolina State AFL-CIO. “We call on Governor McCrory to veto this bill as soon as it reaches his desk.”

Dishonestly named the ‘Protect North Carolina Workers Act’, H.B. 318 will callously and needlessly cut off food assistance to unemployed people, will make it harder for local police to protect the public, and will make it easier for unscrupulous employers to exploit immigrant workers.

H.B. 318 will force more residents struggling to find and keep a job into deeper hunger and poverty by denying access for tens of thousands of childless adults to the federally-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps. H.B. 318 will prohibit the state from getting waivers to federal time limits on such benefits despite the fact that unemployment remains high enough in 77 of North Carolina’s 100 counties to qualify and no state money would be affected by the change.

H.B. 318 will make the already difficult job of local police to protect the public even harder by forcing them to prioritize the enforcement of federal immigration law over common-sense policing and by discouraging crime victims and witnesses from interacting with police to help solve and prevent crimes. H.B. 318 will make the simple act of establishing the identity of North Carolina residents with whom they interact on a daily basis more difficult not only for law enforcement but for courts, clerks, or other government officials.

Meanwhile, H.B. 318 will make it easier for abusive employers to use the threat of deportation to keep workers from speaking up about unsafe working conditions or unpaid wages, thereby undermining the wage standards and working conditions of all working people in North Carolina.

“There’s a lot the General Assembly could do to protect working people in North Carolina, like moving a bill that has bipartisan backing to crack down on the rampant misclassification of workers as independent contractors, restoring the Earned Income Tax Credit, or raising the minimum wage,” said McMillan, “but H.B. 318 does none of these things. This bill does not protect workers. Like so many policies passed by this legislature, this bill hurts working people and should be vetoed immediately.”

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The North Carolina State AFL-CIO is the largest association of local unions and union councils in North Carolina, representing union members, fighting for good jobs, safe workplaces, workers’ rights, consumer protections, and quality public services on behalf of ALL working families. PO Box 10805, Raleigh, NC 27605.

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