Supporting Workers – Proper 17


Tools

Overview – Supporting Workers

Focus Text: James 1:17-27

“But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing.”

Scripture Commentary by the Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina

The language of this passage is marvelously energizing and suggestive. One is reminded of multiple images from Scripture: the language of Hebrews which speaks of the word of God as “living and active” (Heb 4:12); the parable of Jesus in which the word of God is sent forth like seed being randomly sown in soil (Mt 13:1-9, 18-23); the words of Isaiah in which the word goes forth, never to return empty (Isaiah 55:10-11); the dawn of the world when God spoke and creation came to be (Genesis 1:1-3). For James the Word of God is a living, vibrant reality.

Pastoral Reflection by the Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry

Discipleship is about what we do with our feet. The metaphor of feet is a rich one indeed. One of the powerful images of Scripture is that of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper (John 13). To be sure, the washing of feet was a sign of welcome and hospitality. It was in like manner an act of humility. It was also an act and a model of service.

How can we as people of faith support those who are quite literally on their feet all day at low paying jobs without health insurance and other benefits of life?

Personal Vignette on the Unionization Victory for Smithfield Packing Employees

Smithfield Foods is the largest hog producer and pork processor in the world. This multinational company is headquartered in Smithfield, VA, and has a massive operation in the Bladen County city of Tar Heel, NC. The company has $7 billion in U. S. annual sales and $1 billion in international sales. The five thousand workers at the Tar Heel plant slaughter, cut, pack, and ship more than twenty-five thousand hogs a day each day. The Tar Heel plant opened in 1993 and elections for unionization through the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) were held in 1994 and 1997. Included among the reasons union representation was sought was: hazardous working conditions, underreporting of injuries, denial that injuries were work related, discouraging workers from utilizing workers’ compensation, threatening to terminate employment without just cause, to secure a living wage, and to secure health benefits.

Key Fact

Union membership rates in North Carolina have been in decline. The number of workers represented by or a member of a union in 1983 was 10.2 percent but that has dropped to 4.9 percent in 2010.

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Focus Text – James 1:17-27

Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. In fulfillment of [God’s] own purpose [God] gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of [God’s] creatures. You must understand this, my beloved: let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger; for your anger does not produce God’s righteousness. Therefore rid yourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act—they will be blessed in their doing. If any think they are religious, and do not bridle their tongues but deceive their hearts, their religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.
James 1:17-27

Additional Texts

Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, “Grant me justice against my opponent.” For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, “Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.” ’And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to [God’s] chosen ones who cry to [God] day and night? Will [God] delay long in helping them? I tell you, [God] will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?’
Luke 18:1-8

Hear this, you that trample on the needy, and bring to ruin the poor of the land, saying, “When will the new moon be over so that we may sell grain; and the Sabbath, so that we may offer wheat for sale? We will make the ephah small and the shekel great, and practice deceit with false balances, buying the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and selling the sweepings of the wheat.” The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Surely I will never forget any of their deeds.
Amos 8:4-7

You shall not withhold the wages of poor and needy laborers, whether other Israelites or aliens who reside in your land in one of your towns. You shall pay them their wages daily before sunset, because they are poor and their livelihood depends on them; otherwise they might cry to the LORD against you, and you would incur guilt.
Deuteronomy 24:14-15

Other Lectionary Texts

  • Deuteronomy 4:1-2, 6-9
  • Psalm 15
  • Psalm 45:1-2, 6-9
  • Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23
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Commentary on James 1:17-27

The language of this passage is marvelously energizing and suggestive. One is reminded of multiple images from Scripture: the language of Hebrews which speaks of the word of God as “living and active” (Heb 4:12); the parable of Jesus in which the word of God is sent forth like seed being randomly sown in soil (Mt 13:1-9, 18-23); the words of Isaiah in which the word goes forth, never to return empty (Isaiah 55:10-11); the dawn of the world when God spoke and creation came to be (Genesis 1:1-3). For James the Word of God is a living, vibrant reality.

This vibrancy derives from the fact that the Word of God is the living reality of God, the very heart and essence of God. John’s Gospel says it this way: “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (Jn 1:1). It is that Word which took form and shape and life in the life of Jesus of Nazareth. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn 1:14).

For James, as for John’s Gospel, the living Word of God is the source of the life of God wherever it is found. “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights…” (1:17). Thus, James speaks of the origin of the Christian life in the life of the Word living in us: “In fulfillment of his own purpose he gave us birth by the word of truth, so that we would become a kind of first fruits of his creatures” (1:18). It is that “implanted word that has the power to save your souls” (1:21).

One commentator says that the reference of vs. 18 to Christian birth by the word likely refers “to the rebirth of Christians by the word of the Gospel (see Jn. 3:3-7; Titus 3:5; 1 Pet. 1:3,23)” (The Harper Collins Study Bible, NRSV). The word of the Gospel is that way of God, the life of God. Followers of Jesus are those who seek to live the way of Jesus, the way of God. In so doing their lives become bearers of the life of God’s love, God’s compassion, God’s justice, God’s forgiveness.

By The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina

Additional Commentary from “Reflections on the Common Lectionary”

In the lesson from the Letter of James we are called to be “Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.” When we profess faith, but we do not strive to bring about justice and peace, we deceive ourselves. We are not fulfilling our potential as God’s people in the world. As people of faith, we are called to live out our faith in meaningful and powerful ways. God calls us to challenge unjust laws and oppression. We must strive for God’s perfect law, rather than settling for the imperfect laws created by human beings. When we act for justice and peace, we may face intimidation or criticism. The writer of the letter to James reminds us that doers who act will be blessed in their doing. God is with us as we act and as we persevere.

Throughout the Bible, it is clear that our call is to transform the world into the Kingdom of God, a Kingdom of justice, freedom, and peace. Labor Day gives us an opportunity to honor the work that is done by millions of American men and women. On Labor Day, we should consider the ways in which we – as individuals, as congregations, as churches – can help to bring about this transformation, especially for low-wage workers in this country.

(“Reflections on the Common Lectionary” [www.nicwj.org/materials/materials.cl.html], Interfaith Worker Justice; by Teresa Mithen, Intern, Chicago Interfaith Committee on Worker Issues, Summer 2000)
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Pastoral Reflection on James 1:17-27

In the year 2000 when I was consecrated bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, a group of young people decided to witness to our faith by walking on pilgrimage from Greensboro to Durham where the consecration service was to be held. Whether they knew it or not they walked in the steps of people of faith who witnessed to the love of God long before them. They walked in the steps of Chaucer’s Canterbury Pilgrims. They walked in the tradition of John Bunyan’s character Pilgrim in Pilgrim’s Progress. They walked in the steps of Mahatma Gandhi’s salt march to the Indian Ocean. They walked the steps of those who marched across the Edmond Pettis Bridge in Selma of 1965. Above all they walked in the steps of Jesus of Nazareth who summons disciples of every generation and epic with the words, “Follow me.” Their pilgrimage was a parable of what it means to be disciples of Jesus.

Christian discipleship is, in a sense, about what you do with your feet. There is a wonderful passage in Frederick Buechner’s book, The Alphabet of Grace.

“Feet are religious too. I say if you want to know who you are, if you are more than academically interested in that particular mystery, you could do a lot worse than look at your feet for an answer. When you wake up in the morning, called by God to be a self again, if you want to know who you are, watch your feet. Because where your feet take you, that is who you are.”

Discipleship is about what we do with our feet. The metaphor of feet is a rich one indeed. One of the powerful images of Scripture is that of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper (John 13). To be sure, the washing of feet was a sign of welcome and hospitality. It was in like manner an act of humility. It was also an act and a model of service.

Many workers here in North Carolina and nationally stand on their feet all day for salaries below a living wage with the absence of benefits. The North Carolina Justice Center (www.ncjustice.org) and the Living Wage Resource Center (www.livingwagecampaign.org) keep up to date information on issues of economic justice and the campaign for a living wage nationally.

How can we as people of faith support those who are quite literally on their feet all day at low paying jobs without health insurance and other benefits of life?

What are some ways we can educate ourselves and provide education for our congregations and communities of faith on concerns of the working poor here in North Carolina and principles of biblical economics which can help to guide us in our efforts to change public policy and private practices?

Discipleship is about what you do with your feet. It is about doing the word, and not simply hearing the word of the Gospel (1:22). The word “disciple” in both Hebrew and Greek has some origins in the realm of teaching, learning and education, if you will. Bruce Chilton, in his recent book Rabbi Jesus, says that an ancient rabbi was not merely a teacher of the head, but a teacher of head and heart. The rabbi taught a way of life. A pupil or disciple was not, therefore, simply an academic student of the teacher. The disciple sought to live the way of the teacher, to follow in his or her steps.

Jesus reflects this understanding when He said: “A disciple is not above the teacher, nor a slave above the master; it is enough for the disciple to be like the teacher, and the slave like the master” (Mt. 10:24-25). It is in this context that He says, “Follow me,” or “I am the way, the truth and the life” (Mk. 1:17; Jn. 14:6). It is in this context that 1st Peter speaks of Christian discipleship as following in the steps of Jesus. Discipleship is about feet. More to the point, discipleship is about what you do as an expression of who you are in Jesus.

At some deep level, following Jesus is about the life of God being lived in our lives in such a way that finally we “love as God loves,” to borrow from theologian Roberta Bondi. That’s where this language from James comes from: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, and the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows.” Discipleship is to care for the widow and orphan as God does, it is to love as God loves, to do justice as God does justice, to love mercy as God loves mercy. It is to live the way of the Gospel, the way of Jesus, the way of the Word of God. Discipleship is the life of God living in and through our lives.

By The Rt. Rev. Michael B. Curry, Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina

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Worship Aids for James 1:17-27

Responsive Reading

Let us recognize the many people whose work is a blessing, and call those who are in leadership positions to act with justice.

God of Compassion, hear our prayer.

We pray for construction workers who build our homes and places of work and worship.

God of Compassion, hear our prayer.

We pray for injured workers who are too often neglected.

God of Compassion, hear our prayer.

We pray for farm workers and poultry workers who help provide us with our food but who often work in dangerous conditions and struggle to provide food for their own families.

God of Compassion, hear our prayer.

We pray that our legislators and elected officials act on the cries for justice in our community.

God of Compassion, hear our prayer.

We pray that all owners and managers recognize the dignity of workers and uphold the standards of our faith traditions by providing living wages, affordable benefits and the freedom of association.

God of Compassion, hear our prayer.

God of Exodus, you went to your people in Egypt, saw their pain and set them free—free from the bondage of their oppressor. You walked with them to freedom. Walk with all of us who struggle for dignity in the workplace, for a living wage and for fair benefits. Bless all of us as we continue working to bring forth your vision—a vision of justice and peace, kindness and compassion, grace and mercy.

Amen.

(from Interfaith Worker Justice, “Workers Memorial Day,” www.nicwj.org/materials/materials.WMD.html)

Prayer of Confession

Loving God, you bless us with abundance and prosperity for which we are truly grateful. With humility and respect, we acknowledge the people who work night and day so that we will have food on our tables, clothes on our bodies, care when we are sick, and many other services we may not even be aware of that make our lives better, easier and more comfortable.

God of Justice, we pray for the workers in the fields, in the factories, in the hospitals, hotels and office buildings. May their work be safe from danger and fear. May their labors sustain them and their families with equity and dignity.

God of forgiveness, we repent for our ignorance, our apathy and our greed that makes us blind to the plight of so many of our brothers and sisters. Make us aware of the struggles of workers who labor in unsafe conditions, for too little money, for too many hours.

Eternal God, give us the strength and passion to create a world in which there is no exploitation. Instill in us a burning, righteous indignation at the unjust treatment and suffering of working people. Free us so that we might dedicate our hearts and lives to a vision of life with security, dignity and sustainability for all people.

Amen.

(from Interfaith Worker Justice, “Labor in the Pulpits 2000,” www.nicwj.org/pages/materials.LIP2000txt.html)

Labor Day Prayer

We gather this Labor Day weekend to celebrate the work that people do and the gift of work that God has given us.

We give thanks for our jobs and the opportunity to work.

We know that to work can be an opportunity to do God’s will.

We pray that those of us with jobs will discern God’s will in our workplaces.

We pray for those without jobs. This Labor Day weekend there are over…

Eight million Americans who are officially unemployed.

And we know that millions more are not included in the official rolls of the unemployed, because they have become discouraged and stopped looking for work, or they accepted part-time work instead of desired full-time work.

Creator God, give special encouragement and blessings to those looking for work.

We lift up all employers…

That they may be just and fair with all their employees.

We know that God’s word is clear on treatment of workers.

Deuteronomy 24:9 says, “Never take advantage of poor laborers, whether fellow Israelites or foreigners living in your towns. Pay them their wages each day before sunset because they are poor and are counting on it.

Otherwise they might cry out to the Lord against you, and it would be counted against you as sin.”

We ask God’s special protection on those who toil in sweatshops.

We know that God hears the cries of the poor.

Touch the hearts of those who…

“Trample on the heads of the poor as upon the dust of the ground and deny justice to the oppressed” (Amos 2:7).

We know that God has concern for the poor in society. Proverbs says that if a leader “judges the poor with fairness,” the leader’s position will be secure (29:14). But the leader who “oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops” (28:3).

Help our leaders judge and treat the poor with fairness.

Help us become a society that cares for the poor, a society that cares for sweatshop workers, a society that cares for immigrants. We serve a God who is “mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.” Our God “defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the alien, giving him food and clothing. And you are to love those who are aliens, for you yourselves were aliens in Egypt” (Deuteronomy 10:17-19).

We pledge to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy” (Proverbs 31:8-9).

Amen.

(from the Interfaith Worker Justice, “Labor in the Pulpits 2004,” www.nicwj.org/materials/LIP2004.html)
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Suggested Hymns for Supporting Workers

All Who Love and Serve Your City
United Methodist Hymnal 433
The Hymnal (1982) 570
Presbyterian Hymnal 413
Chalice Hymnal (Disciples of Christ) 670
Moravian Book of Worship 697

God, That Madest Earth and Heaven
United Methodist Hymnal 668

Moved by the Gospel, Let Us Move
Gather Hymnal (Catholic) 685

O Grant Us, God, A Little Space
New Century Hymnal (United Church of Christ) 516

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Quotes about Supporting Workers

Labor was the first price, the original purchase – money that was paid for all things. It was not by gold or by silver, but by labor, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased.
Adam Smith

The strongest bond of human sympathy outside the family relation should be one uniting working people of all nations and tongues and kindreds.
Abraham Lincoln

If capitalism is fair then unionism must be. If men have a right to capitalize their ideas and the resources of their country, then that implies the right of men to capitalize their labor.
Frank Lloyd Wright

The labor movement means just this: It is the last noble protest of the American people against the power of incorporated wealth.
Wendell Phillips

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Vignette about Supporting Workers

Unionization Victory for Smithfield Packing Employees

Smithfield Foods is the largest hog producer and pork processor in the world. This multinational company is headquartered in Smithfield, VA, and has a massive operation in the Bladen County city of Tar Heel, NC. The company has $7 billion in U.S. annual sales and $1 billion in international sales. The five thousand workers at the Tar Heel plant slaughter, cut, pack, and ship more than twenty-five thousand hogs a day each day.

The Tar Heel plant opened in 1993 and elections for unionization through the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) were held in 1994 and 1997. Workers were interested in joining a union in order to:

  • Improve hazardous working conditions;
  • Prevent the underreporting of injuries;
  • End the company’s practice of denying that injuries were work related;
  • End the company’s practice of discouraging workers from utilizing workers’ compensation;
  • End the company’s practice of threatening to terminate employment without just cause;
  • Help secure a living wage;
  • And to secure health benefits.

The tactics of Smithfield Foods in the 1997 election were especially egregious: unlawful intimidation, coercion, spying on workers, and beating up some workers on the day of election. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled in 1999 that Smithfield Foods had engaged in unfair labor practices and unfair election conduct. The case was then heard before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). In 2000, the ALJ ruled that Smithfield had violated the law by threatening, harassing, intimidating, coercing, improperly disciplining workers, used workers as spies on other workers, suppressed workers’ rights to organize, confiscated lawful union literature distributed by workers, and strictly applied work rules against union supporters. The company was ordered to pay $1.5 million to workers it had fired illegally. Smithfield Foods appealed the ALJ’s ruling. In 2006 a Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ALJ’s decision. In October 2007 Smithfield Foods sued UFCW under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), legislation targeted against extortion by mobsters and gangsters, for the UFCW’s organizational support of the workers.

In the latter part of October 2007, Smithfield Foods entered into settlement with UFCW which eventually lead to the union election in December 2008. The workers voted 2041 to 1879 for representation by the 1.4 million member UFCW. According to the Bladen Journal, Smithfield Foods and UFCW are currently in negotiation but neither side is releasing specific details. A spokesperson for UFCW has previously stated that collective bargaining would address the issues of wages, health care, benefits, safety, training, and seniority.

Some Recommendations for Meat Packing Companies by Human Rights Watch

  • Reduce the speed of machinery on production lines to reduce injuries;
  • Reconstruct lines and work stations to provide adequate space between workers using sharp and otherwise dangerous equipment to increase safety;
  • Customize (or make adjustable) work station dimensions, to the extent feasible, to account for workers’ individual physical characteristics;
  • Implement ergonomics standards to provide equipment engineering improvements, job rotation, more frequent rest breaks, enhanced training in workers’ languages, and more accurate and complete recording and reporting of injuries;
  • Halt the use of captive-audience meetings with groups of workers, one-on-one meetings between management and individual workers, or other forms of interference with workers’ exercise of freedom of association;
  • Stop the use of permanent replacements against workers who exercise the right to strike;
  • Halt the use of company security personnel or deputized police as a means to harass, threaten, intimidate, or otherwise pressure workers to not exercise their rights; and
  • Work with relevant industry associations to improve working conditions and respect workers’ rights.

Key Dates:

  • 1906 – Pure Food and Drug Act and the Federal Meat Inspection Act passed
  • 1935 – National Labor Relations Board established
  • 1937 – United Packinghouse Workers of America formed
  • 1983 – Meatpacking workers’ pay fell below the average U.S. manufacturing
Sources:
For more in depth information on the process that unionization took at Smithfield Foods in Tar Heel visit the Human Rights Watch article Blood, Sweat, and Fear at http://www.hrw.org. For more information about the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union visit their web site at http://www.ufcw.org.
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Contacts and Resources for Supporting Workers

www.nccouncilofchurches.org/2004/03/resolution-in-support-of-organized-labor-in-north-carolina
This webpage contains a North Carolina Council of Churches policy statement concerning organized labor.

www.iwj.org
Interfaith Worker Justice is an organization that calls upon our religious values in order to educate, organize, and mobilize the religious community in the U.S. on issues and campaigns that will improve wages, benefits, and working conditions for workers, especially low-wage workers. Website contains excellent worship resources for churches and other worship gatherings, as well as pertinent information concerning worker justice.

www.ufcw.org
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) is North America’s Neighborhood Union—1.3 million members standing together to improve the lives and livelihoods of workers, families, and communities. The UFCW is also America’s youngest union, with the greatest percentage of members under the age of 35 of any other union. Our members know that through sticking together, we can get our country back on track and create a better future for all working people.

www.aflcionc.org
North Carolina State AFL-CIO is a federation of more than 260 local unions of all sizes from across North Carolina. Chartered in 1957, the North Carolina State AFL-CIO is a democratic organization with two full-time elected executive officers and an elected executive board of twenty-four vice-presidents.

www.stitchonline.org
STITCH: Organizers for Labor Justice is a network of women unionists, organizers, and activists that builds connections between Central American and US women organizing for economic justice.

www.unitehere.org
UNITE (Union of Needletrades, Textiles, and Industrial Employees) and HERE (Hotel Employees and Restaurant Employees International Union) boast a diverse membership, comprised largely of immigrants and including high percentages of African-American, Latino, and Asian-American workers. The majority of UNITE HERE members are women.

www.floc.com
Farm Labor Organizing Committee is a farm worker union which successfully negotiated an historic three-way contract between workers, the North Carolina Grower’s Association, and Mt. Olive Pickle Company in 2004, ending a five-year boycott of Mt. Olive Pickles. The contract resulted in more than 8,000 H2A (temporary) farm workers in North Carolina becoming the first such guest workers in the U.S. to win union representation and provided for improved wages, safety protections, and grievance procedures. Today, FLOC is engaged in a campaign against RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company.

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Key Facts about Supporting Workers

1. North Carolina has the lowest rate of union membership (3.2 percent in 2010) in the United States.

2. Strong unions help to create a strong middle-class. Studies show that as union membership has declined, the average income of a middle class worker has declined as well

3. Union membership rates in North Carolina have been in decline. The number of workers represented by or a member of a union in 1983 was 10.2 percent but that has dropped to 4.9 percent in 2010.

4. The percentage of workers in North Carolina who were members of a union in 2010 was 3.2. The percentage of workers represented by unions in 2010 in North Carolina was 4.9. North Carolina currently has the least amount of union representation in the nation.

5. Nationwide, workers in education, training, and library occupations had the highest unionization rate at 37.1 percent.

6. Across the country, the highest rate of union membership is among African American workers at 13.4 percent. The rate of membership for whites is 11.7 percent, for Asians 10.9 percent, and for Hispanics 10.0 percent.

7. North Carolina House Bill 1583, An Act to Restore Contract Rights to State and Local Entities, passed the House April 19, 2007. The bill was filed in the North Carolina Senate on March 4, 2009, and it is now Senate Bill 427. Enactment of the bill will result in the repeal of NC General Statute 95-98 which prohibits public employees from collective bargaining regarding such issues as their salaries, safety, and professional development/training.

8. In May 2008 a study on public support for repealing NCGS 95-98 was released. Five polls were conducted between November of 2005 and May of 2008. In November 2005, 44.7 percent of North Carolinians supported the repeal. In March 2007, 53.8 percent of North Carolinians supported the repeal.

Sources

  1. Bureau of Labor Statistics at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.nr0.htm.
  2. http://www.americfanprogressaction.org/issues/2011/04/uions_middle_class.html
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics at http://www.bis.gov/news.release/union2.t05.htm
  4. Ibid.
  5. http://www.bis.gov/news.release/uion2.5)3.htm
  6. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.t01.htm
  7. North Carolina General Assembly at http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2007&BillID=h+1583 and http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/gascripts/BillLookUp/BillLookUp.pl?Session=2009&BillID=S427.
  8. North Carolina Hope at http://www.nchope.org/adobe/HOPEissue5v7.pdf.
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