15 Legislative Actions That Leave North Carolina Workers Disenfranchised

On July 20th North Carolina workers joined workers across the nation to Strike for Black Lives. Though the strike itself only spanned a single day, the demands are still available and applicable. The demands set forth by this strike would benefit all North Carolinians - though they originate from the most marginalized - structurally and individually. Real Facts NC identified fifteen legislative actions that failed to live up to or actively undermined these demands in North Carolina with a Republican-led legislative body.

 Many of these bills are the byproduct of a Republican leadership at the state level throughout the past decade. Through their former supermajority, Republican lawmakers enshrined unconstitutional gerrymandering that targeted Black people, and questionable antics that unquestionably hurt workers. This fall voters have the opportunity to elect leaders who will review these past actions and create new legislation that will meet their needs.

 Legislative Actions in NC

Actions that failed to protect workers:

  • 2020: Republicans failed to include worker protections in H1023. They rejected a measure to require meatpacking plants submit a plan for protecting employees from COVID-19. They also rejected requirements that plants provide PPE and a 15-minute break every two hours for handwashing and requirements that employers offer two weeks’ paid sick leave for anyone infected with COVID-19.
  • 2020: H1057 would have increased protections for front line workers, including access to more workers compensation. Republicans refused to vote on the bill.
  • 2019: H46 would have increased the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2024. H46 would have also addressed pay equity by requiring all employees, regardless of gender or gender identity, be paid the same for the same work. Republicans refused to vote on the bill.

 Anti-Union and “Right to Work” laws:

North Carolina is a “right to work” and “employment at will” state, resulting in few protections for workers.

  • 2019: H46 would have removed the ban on unions for public employees. Republicans refused to hold votes on the bill.
  • 2018: Republicans attempted to put an anti-union “right to work” constitutional amendment on the ballot.
  • 2013: H74 banned unions for farm workers. (Section 15: “Agricultural Right to Work”)

Actions that cut unemployment benefits:

  • 2020: H1075 would have increased the monthly cap on unemployment benefits and extended the number of weeks someone is eligible for unemployment. Republicans refused to vote on the measure.
    • NOTE: A provision increasingthe state’s weekly cap on unemployment benefits was removed from the final version of the coronavirus relief bill. 
  • 2013: Republicans cut unemployment benefits, becoming the only state to do so. North Carolina is one of only two states that only allows 12 weeks of unemployment.
    • More from ProPublica on how this has played out since 2013. 

Actions that cut other benefits:

Actions that blocked Medicaid expansion & access to health care:

Instead, Republicans gave tax breaks to big businesses: