A bill to silence the voice of University workers
TO THE EDITOR:
A bill proposed in the North Carolina Senate and moving through the legislature, Senate Bill 575, will radically change the rights of workers across UNC-system schools.
SB 575 would remove UNC employees from the legal guarantees provided to them under the State Personnel Act and give sole and complete authority to the Board of Governors to manage SPA positions.
With this change, the Board of Governors would act in whatever way it saw fit to determine the parameters of employment for UNC employees, including setting health and disability benefits, wages, grievance policies, disciplinary measures and human resources policies.
There would be no higher authority, no external, objective system of checks and balances to catch possible or actual abuses of power.
The consequences of this legislation are that workers could face an even more difficult work environment, becoming essentially “at-will” employees who can be fired without any explicit justification and without any method of legal redress, both of which they are currently entitled to under the State Personnel Act.
This means that workers who speak out for better working conditions or wages could be fired, reinforcing an environment that already disrespects and silences workers at the University.
We as students and workers alike cannot allow this legislation to move forward. Say no to SB 575. For more information about this bill and the problems it will bring, go to http://forum.unc.edu/resolutions/2011/res1103final.pdf.
Zaina Alsous ’13
Housekeeping services employee