John Locke Foundation’s Mitch Kokai weighs in for the News & Observer on prospective bills to overturn collective bargaining ban:

Two first-term Democratic state legislators have filed bills hoping to overturn a 1959 ban on collective bargaining by public-sector employees. That means labor unions would have negotiating power.

In North Carolina, instead of through collective bargaining, government workers’ wages are set by the legislature or a local government. So workers lobby for what they want rather than negotiate a union contract.

Jeff Hauser, spokesman for the North Carolina Republican Party, said in a statement that North Carolina “has prospered under its status as a right to work state, frequently ranked within the top three states in which to do business.”

The state legislature is under GOP control so a repeal would need Republican support. Both bills have been referred to the rules committees, where many bills never leave.

Mitch Kokai, a political analyst at the John Locke Foundation, a conservative policy organization, doesn’t think the bills will go anywhere.

“I can‘t imagine any Republican legislators are going to latch on to this cause,” he said. Kokai said he sees the bills as setting a marker in the ground for their supporters that this is something they want to do, if not now, then in the future.

Schewel has touted Durham as a “progressive beacon in the South” since being elected mayor in 2017. The entire Durham City Council is Democrat.

Kokai said that North Carolina has been “at best lukewarm, and at worst hostile” to labor unions. He saw the Democrats’ news conference at the legislature Wednesday as a sign supporters believe North Carolina is on the verge of changing its stripes about unions, given changing demographics and Democrats’ gains in the 2018 elections.

Meanwhile, teachers across the state plan their second annual march for public education, organized by the N.C. Association of Educators. School districts that have canceled classes May 1 include the Wake County Public School System and Durham Public Schools.

“Today’s press conference led by first-term lawmakers and the far-left NCAE further proves that they aren’t out to work on behalf of students or employees, but rather expand their own political pocketbook,” Hauser said. “It’s not about justice or helping our children and teachers succeed; It’s about enacting an agenda designed for enhanced power while holding hostage the taxpayers of North Carolina.”

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