After three months of bargaining, the WBNG unit at Student Action with Farmworkers on Aug. 31 ratified a three-year agreement. The shop’s first Guild contract took effect Sept. 1.
Bargaining was led by unit chair Joanna Welborn. The four WBNG members based in North Carolina’s Research Triangle are seeing improvements in wages, telework, flex time, cellphone reimbursement, and travel allowance. The contract also features new pro-equitable workplace language.
Mergers with locals based in North Carolina and New York have expanded WBNG’s membership and geographical reach.
To the south of Washington and Baltimore, the two shops that comprise the former IUE-CWA Local 83188 are the North Carolina AFL-CIO and the Student Action with Farmworkers (SAF) organization, both of which are based in the Research Triangle.
And in the other direction from WBNG headquarters – mostly north of the local’s traditional jurisdiction – the American Federation of Teachers’ Northeast Regional Organizing Project members in 2015 voted 29-2 to affiliate with WBNG. The shop had been represented by an OPEIU local that had disclaimed its bargaining rights.
Headquartered in Durham, the farmworkers’ rights group traces its current mission to 1992. Since then, the organization has brought “more than 700 young people into social justice work and has supported 80,000 farmworkers’ efforts to gain access to a more just agricultural system.”
Among SAF’s honors are a Research Triangle Cross-Class Bridge Builder award for “work with people of diverse classes and races,” and a Diamante Award for making significant contributions to the Latino/Hispanic community.
Nadeen Bir, the organization’s Advocacy & Organizing director, heads up the unit at SAF. The shop’s current contract, now serviced by WBNG, expires at the end of July.
At the state federation office in Raleigh, Jeremy Sprinkle is the unit chairperson. The three-year contract there expires Dec. 31, 2016.
The AFT-NEROP shop, the former Office and Professional Employees International Union unit, has about three dozen organizers-in-training, organizers, and senior organizers.
Shortly after affiliating with WBNG, the NEROP bargaining team was formed: new Guild members Malcolm Emerich, Sara Gordon, Jessie Leiken, and Local 32035 Executive Director Cet Parks.
Bargaining began in New York City in June 2015, and a three-year deal was reached relatively quickly. The new agreement runs from July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2018.