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Union: Removing Charlotte control of airport is wrong

By Joe Marusak
jmarusak@charlotteobserver.com

The union that represents City of Charlotte workers is protesting the General Assembly’s attempts to wrest control of Charlotte Douglas International Airport from the city by putting it under the control of a regional authority.

At a news conference outside the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center Wednesday night, union official Steve Bader said union members intend to send a message “loud and clear” to Gov. Pat McCrory and House Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Cornelius, that “they are not representing the people of Charlotte.”

“The airport was doing good,” said James Locklear, president of the Charlotte City Workers Chapter of UE 150, the statewide public service workers union. “Leave the city alone. Let the city run it. Leave the jobs alone.”

The Senate has passed a version of the bill. The measure was in a House committee this week.

Bader and other union officials also said they support the city’s opposition to House Bill 677, which they said would reverse the city’s decision to respect the right of workers to support their unions through payroll deductions.

Union leaders also highlighted House Bill 834, which they said would eliminate due process for state workers. They said McCrory is backing the bill. When a worker files a grievance, a relatively unbiased Office of Administrative Hearings judge rules on the case, union leaders said. The bill would eliminate that office and have political appointees make the decision, officials said.

Bader, the N.C. field organizer for UE 150, said legislative proposals by the GOP-majority state House and Senate favor the wealthy over regular workers. He said six statewide UE 150 leaders have been among the more then 480 people arrested at the Moral Mondays protests in Raleigh. “It’s in the spirit of Dr. King,” Bader said of the protests, referring to the late Civil Rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “Dr. King would be a part of this movement.”

Marusak: 704-987-3670; on Twitter @ jmarusak.
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