Resolution in support of the International Worker Justice Campaign

The following resolution was unanimously endorsed by the 3rd regional convention of SDS chapters in the South, January 18-21 in Tuscaloosa, AL.

For fifty years, public sector workers in North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia have had their human rights violated by Jim Crow era laws that prohibit collective bargaining agreements with their employer. Because of these laws, hundreds of thousands of workers in the South are left without the ability to collectively negotiate binding agreements.

The result is that public sector workers in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia suffer from substandard wages, inadequate healthcare, insufficient pensions, discrimination and harassment on the job, racist attacks, and more.

The laws that prohibit collective bargaining for public sector workers in these states are a hold over from Jim Crow. These laws exist to suppress the labor movement generally, but in particular they serve to stifle the collective strength of Black workers in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. That is because historically there has been a high concentration of Black workers in the public sector in these states.

The right to collective bargaining is a fundamental human right. It is what allows workers to collectively reach agreements on wages, healthcare, and other issues that are binding upon their employer. With it, they are able to negotiate fair contracts that meet their needs. Without it, the workers are subject to the whims of the bosses.

The International Worker Justice Campaign is a project of the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, a democratic and independent union (ueunion.org). For over three years, union organizers with UE in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia have been working tirelessly to build worker power on the shop floor, and to build a broad grassroots movement to repeal the anti-worker laws in these states.

They need our support. Important legislative battles are on the horizon that would overturn the anti-worker laws and empower public sector workers. This would be a huge victory for labor in these three states; further, it would be a giant stride forward for the labor movement in the South as a whole.

As students and youth in SDS, we have an important role to play in this historic campaign. Some of the worst exploitation of public sector workers happens right where we organize–on high school and college campuses. Our schools are battlegrounds in the overall struggle to win collective bargaining rights for public sector workers, and as students and youth, we must dedicate ourselves to giving real support and solidarity to these workers in their fight for justice and equality.

Therefore, let it be resolved that the 3rd Southern SDS Regional convention hereby:

1. Endorse the International Worker Justice campaign;
2. That delegates attending will bring back this resolution to their local chapters for endorsement;
3. That delegates attending will pledge to support the campaign through signing endorsements, raising awareness, and/or organizing events around the IWJC in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.

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