Charlotte unions propose ‘bill of rights’ for city workers
Union leaders say the current investigation process is chaotic and discourages employees from being whistleblowers.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - City of Charlotte union leaders are calling for a workers’ bill of rights for employees facing investigation and termination. Charlotte Firefighter Association Local 660 union leaders told WBTV the current investigation process is chaotic and discourages employees from being whistleblowers.
“We believe there’s a culture of ignoring issues and ignoring problems. So, if you’re a worker and you wanted to speak out and you feared retribution, this would protect those workers,” CFFA President Tom Brewer told WBTV during an interview.
Brewer and Mike Feneis are leaders of the Local 660. Along with the Charlotte chapter of the Public Service Workers Union, they’ve drafted a workers bill of rights, a list of 28 proposed policies that would give city workers certain rights if they’re under investigation. It includes requirements to notify employees if they’re under investigation and what for, to make audio recordings of disciplinary interviews, and to have a representative during questioning.
“Currently we’re unable to represent our members in disciplinary matters. The the city will not allow us in there with them and we feel that that’s got to change,” Feneis said.
“I think it will attract people to come work for this great city but I also think it will keep the workers that we have here in Charlotte,” Feneis said.
“We’re just trying to find a way to protect the workers, their families, but also protect the city,” Brewer said.
“Any concerns having this type of Bill of Rights might protect employees from being terminated who might actually deserve it?” Investigative Reporter David Hodges asked.
“No, I don’t think so,” Feneis said. “It guarantees the process will be done thoroughly and that’s all it does. We’re not trying to protect anyone who is wrongdoing. We’re just saying this is the guideline and this is what needs to be done.”
Union leaders plan to present their proposed workers’ bill of rights to city council Monday night and ask them to ultimately adopt the new rules.
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