From the good people at UE local 150, N.C. Public Service Workers Union:
“A new report  released by UE local 150, N.C. Public Service Workers Union highlights the need for ‘Safety, Rights and Raises’ for state DHHS employees. The report details new information about horrible understaffing, vacant positions not being filled, alarming turnover rates, along with Department of Labor wage data showing how far behind state employees are with their salaries.
DHHS employees, all members of UE local 150, N.C. Public Service Workers Union from Cherry Hospital, Caswell Developmental Center, Central Regional Hospital and Murdoch Center but representing workers in all state operated facilities, met with DHHS Sec. Wos and her administration yesterday.
‘We are glad that Sec. Wos is committed to continue to dialogue with workers, ‘ stated Regina Washington, developmental technician from Caswell Center. ‘However we are upset by her insistence that certain upper classes of workers deserve raises compared to direct care staff, who are the lowest paid and who receive the bulk of the injuries and stress. ‘
Sec. Wos claimed she is helping all DHHS employees by continuing to only fight for the most privileged and well paid positions to get paid more. She called this ‘strategic’ and that the focus should be on the ‘proper workforce,’ meaning those at the top. She specifically mentioned that she has gotten approval from Gov. McCrory to give raises to pathologists and Registered Nurses. This tactic is much like the McCrory administration did with the teachers, giving only a small few some raises, although it is worse in DHHS.
When UE150 members proposed a $3,000 flat across-the-board raise, Wos stated, ‘if everyone gets a raise, then people only get pennies. We need to give raises to the proper workforce.’ This was part of her ‘business model.’
‘The price of food, gasoline, and health insurance has gone up drastically in the last few years. Our wages have gone backwards,’ stated Janice Scanes, healthcare technician at Cherry Hospital. ‘We have had to work with our same salary for years. I had to cut corners and borrow from Peter to pay Paul just to pay my bills. Five leave days we got was a slap in the face because you cannot put gas in your car and feed your kids with leave days. We are long overdue to get paid a fair wage for our hard work.’
The core of the proposals from UE150 were the following regarding safety, grievance rights, and raises:
- Implement all the recommendations of the N.C. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration from its August 2012 report issued regarding injuries at Cherry Hospital. Expand these recommendations to all State Operated Healthcare Facilities. Implement UE150 eight-point plan for violence abatement.
- Across-the-board wage increases of $3,000 for all employees in DHHS state operated facilities.
- In-range salary adjustments based on seniority for all employees in DHHS state operated facilities.
- Facing daily unjust discipline based on blame for institutional problems, discrimination, and retaliation, workers deserve the right to a non-attorney assistant of their choice, including during the informal step of the new OSHR grievance process.“