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Lawmakers punishing first responders, local governments again tonight

FirefightersMore deceptively titled and poorly understood legislation that was advanced without a fair or properly noticed hearing will be on the floor of the North Carolina House tonight.

I know, I know; that just sounds like a typical day at the Legislative Building, but in this case, it’s an especially egregious overreach.

The proposed legislation in question bears the wholly inaccurate and inadequate title “Local Government Regulatory Reform Act.”

What the bill really is is an offensive attack on local governments and average public workers.

Under the bill, local government workers — most notably first responders like police officers and firefighters — would lose their right have union dues voluntarily deducted from their pay. The most obvious targets of the measure are Greensboro and Charlotte firefighters (and other city employees) who just recently won the right to dues deduction after long campaigns with the city councils.

But, of course, the bill is also another attack on local control. Cities and counties have long made their own decisions about dues deductions. Most municipalities, for instance, already make payroll deductions for other organizations like United Way.

And since they do it for so many other organizations, making the deductions for union dues would have a minimal cost. Indeed, in some cases, the union has agreed to pay a setup fee.

Moreover, the dues deductions are completely voluntary. Only employees who sign an authorization form have the dues deducted.

Finally, to add insult to injury, the bill in question was rammed through the House Regulatory Reform Committee last Wednesday even though it wasn’t even on the public calendar.

The bottom line: The legislation is yet another cynical and ideologically driven power grab by far right forces who fear democratic action at the local level and average workers who band together to speak on their own behalf.

In short: Another day of “business as usual” at the 2013 General Assembly.

2 Comments

  1. jlp75

    May 13, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    A slap in the face of those that would unwaveringly run in to harms way to save these cowards if they were in danger. No questions asked, they serve and do everything they can to protect the citizens that are entrusted to their protection. Only a coward would meet in the dark of night with no notice to harm these brave men and women who put their lives on the line day in and day out. Despicable.

  2. Bobby Padgett

    May 14, 2013 at 6:43 am

    This is for all the folks who felt no pain or remorse when the NCAE lost its ability to offer dues check-off. Now the anti-union Art Pope clones are after your union rights. SEANC your next.

    First they came for the socialists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me,
    and there was no one left to speak for me.