For Immediate Release
January 26, 2024
Duke Raleigh Hospital Maintenance Workers Vote to Unionize
First North Carolina workers to unionize in 2024 after a wave of historic victories last year!
Raleigh, NC – Maintenance employees at Duke Raleigh Hospital became the first workers in North Carolina to unionize this year, having voted in an election supervised by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) last night to join the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 465. Their decision will allow them to collectively negotiate a contract that addresses pay, job security, and fair treatment within Duke University Health System.
“We’re just trying to provide for our families, be treated fairly, and have our hard work respected,” said longtime Duke Raleigh worker Corey Brown, who supported the union effort. “People have kids, houses, and lives at stake, and before the hospital could do pretty much whatever they wanted. Now we will have the power to secure our future together.”
“Congratulations to the workers at Duke Raleigh Hospital on winning the first union election in North Carolina this year,” said NC State AFL-CIO President MaryBe McMillan. “They have joined a growing labor movement that saw historic victories in 2023, including by some 2,400 graduate student workers at Duke University, and we will stand with them in their fight for a first contract.”
Nationwide, over 900,000 union members won double-digit wage increases through new contracts last year, including record setting increases at UPS and the Big Three automakers.
Americans' support for unions is at the highest level in nearly 60 years, 71 percent overall and 88 percent of young people. According to new data by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, total union membership grew by 139,000 in 2023, when unions prevailed in 71 percent of NLRB elections – despite corporations spending more than $400 million per year on union-busting consultants to stop workers from organizing.
“Unions provide people with hope in uncertain times that we can secure our freedom to thrive and contribute to our shared prosperity,” said McMillan. “Together we win!”
The North Carolina State AFL-CIO is the largest association of local unions and union councils in North Carolina, representing over one-hundred twenty-five thousand union members, fighting for good jobs, safe workplaces, workers’ rights, consumer protections, and quality public services on behalf of ALL working people.