Local News

State Employees To Meet For Annual Convention

Posted September 6, 2001 9:52 a.m. EDT

— Hundreds of state employees will meet in Greensboro for their annual convention and one of the biggest issues they will discuss is money.

This year, state employees will spend a lot of time talking about the lawsuit they filed against Gov. Mike Easley. Thousands of employees protested the governor's decision to use $151 million in retirement funds to make up for the budget shortfall.

A Wake County judge dismissed the lawsuit in May saying Easley has the power to hold the money during a budget crisis.

"It's still sitting -- $150 million in an escrow account and the governor has furthermore seized the month of July and August for a total of an additional $20 million and put that into an escrow account," says Dana Cope, executive director of the State Employee Association. "None of that money has been spent yet. It's just staying in a savings account."

The case is now under appeal. The delegates will also discuss wages, job security, and encourage members to run for seats in the state legislature. Collective bargaining is another big issue and deciding if members will lobby to get rid of restrictions on striking.

"Right now, collective bargaining and work stoppages are illegal for public employees in North Carolina and one of the issues on the table is for our association to lobby to change the law," Cope says.

The state employees' convention will take place over three days.